Rubik Garage Accelerator, spring edition of 2022, in retrospective
Rubik Garage Accelerator, spring edition of 2022, in retrospective
September 20, 2022
Rubik Hub, together with two VC funds from Romania, ROCA X and SeedBlink, accelerator Global Kinetics from Silicon Valley, and Startup Wise Guys from Estonia, launched the Rubik Garage accelerator in the spring of 2022. Rubik Garage is an equity-free acceleration program aiming to support startups from CEE or SEE get to their first customers or raise their first investment round.
Rubik Garage 2022 spring edition was a hybrid acceleration program, in English. This was a great batch of 22 international startups, selected from 120 applications. The selection process was not easy, but we selected 22 startups with founders from over 10 countries: Italy, The Netherlands, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Moldova, The UK, North, Macedonia, Germany, Estonia, Romania, and Spain. In total, the cohort has bootstrapped over 1.5 million euros, had a revenue of over 1.5 million euros, raised investments of over 2.6 million euros, achieved an MRR of 113K euros, created over 140 jobs, and was trusted by over 23 investors and 6 VCs.
The 2022 Cohort (3rd edition)
APass is a tool for the blind that can make life easier for typical people. A virtual assistant that behaves like a specialist by giving you additional audio information about a certain physical object that it has in the database.
Alertto is a surveillance solution for security companies and companies in general. Their solution is autonomous and easy to use by security guards and it includes a docking station so the drone can deploy automatically without human intervention.
Bloomcoding is the online after-school that teaches children coding skills. Children receive VR and AR tools at home to use during the lessons.
Carbony is on a mission to remove 500 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere until 2040. We are doing this by developing unique and catalytic carbon removal projects in Europe.
Chambr helps learning & development professionals create learning games that increase content retention.
Nelma is a behavioral health marketplace that helps connect licensed psychologists with people who need them
DriverUp is a transport management system focusing on road freight transport SMEs.
Foodobox is an app that reduces food waste by allowing food stores to sell their surplus food at a discounted price before closing hour. They help save highly perishable surplus food left from stores such as restaurants, retailers, hotels, etc.
Freya is the talent acquisition manager for Seed and Series A startups.
iCamin.ro is a web (cross-platform) application built for smart managing nursing homes. They are focusing on saving people’s time by decluttering the bureaucratic flows in elderly / nursing homes.
Infinity Toy Box solves a problem that each parent encounters – kids outgrow or get bored of toys very quickly, then parents bother to store, gift or sell them. Infinity Toy Box allows parents or businesses (daycares, therapy centers) to rent toys and games.
Lightpass offers universities and training providers a credential management platform to communicate and exchange documents with their students in a simple, compliant and secure way.
Palmo is a network for urban logistics on light electric vehicles (LEVs). By aggregating fleets and using purpose-built (optimisation) tech, we are working on lowering the cost of sustainable delivery from within the city by 5x+ and replacing vans on a large scale.
Platerq solves three problems: long waiting time for receiving the bill in restaurants, bill splitting when eating out in groups and the high level of fraud in restaurants.
Pocket IP is a one-stop-shop web service for managing Intellectual property (IP) rights objects worldwide from one online account. They solve the main problems for IP lawyers specialists and companies which operate in several countries – proper and cost-effective management of their trademark and patent portfolio.
Rastel.io provides a network of smart and secure bike shelters that can be monitored and accessed through a mobile app.
Sales Time is a dynamic technology company that develops a platform for manufacturers and distributors of technical products.
Silverbacks is an AI-powered marketplace that matches teams with clients.
SMSO is an omnichannel communication platform for businesses. Nowadays, all companies struggle in communicating with customers through multiple and separate channels.
Stock.estate is the fastest-growing crowd-lending platform specialized in identifying, vetting and financing real estate opportunities.
Tulipr is a digital platform that streamlines the event planning process for businesses, agencies and event professionals.
Volvero is an app for vehicle sharing. Through their service, private owners and businesses can recover ownership costs. They use the latest technology to create an easier, smarter, and safer drive-sharing experience that connects owners with people who are looking for a better solution for their transportation needs.
The program began on the 18th of May 2022 and it comprised 3 phases:
- The Accelerator Phase – May 18 – End of August. During 4 intensive months, startup founders took part in over 60 hours of practical workshops with experts and 1:1 sessions with mentors and investors – all with the purpose of accelerating the startups in areas that are key for their growth. These were tailored to the founders’ needs and covered a wide range of topics, including developing sustainable business models, sales, pricing and go-to-market strategies.
The acceleration phase started with a Founders’ Bootcamp and a launch event, on the 18th -20th of May 2022. Here, the founders met the mentors, the strategic partners and the wider Rubik Hub community and attended the first in-person workshops. That took place in Rubik Hub, in Piatra Neamt, Romania, in a 1800sq space created exclusively for startup events and co-working, and surrounded by forests and mountains.
- The Demo Day (6th of September 2022) – part of the event “Future of Romania”, organized by the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digitization, in partnership with ADR Nord-Est, Rubik Hub, ROStartup, World Bank, European Commission, Polytechnic University of Bucharest. This event brought together more than 500 participants – researchers, innovators and startup representatives, it included a Startup Alley and the official launching of the full reports Starting Up Romania & Scaling Up Romania by ROStartup.
At the end of the day, together with the jury, Rubik Hub awarded the startups and selected the ones that have gone to the last phase of acceleration, and received tailored support in raising an investment / expanding to a new market.
The founders of the most promising startups were selected to receive a pack of benefits created to support them raise an investment round or scale into a new market (free tickets to an international startup conference, a free booth and an immersive trip into an international startup ecosystem).
- Preparation for raising investment & scaling internationally
Moreover, 10 teams were selected for the follow-on Investment Readiness program: Volvero, Infinity Toy Box, SMSO, TULIPR, Sales Time, Rastel.io, FREYARecruiting, Foodobox, Chambr, Bloomcoding.
The founders learned strategies and tips & tricks for raising investment straight from investors and experts from the Rubik Hub community through a series of workshops, match-making sessions with relevant investors, exclusive pitching sessions and tailored feedback sessions.
- Introduction to Rubik Hub – Simona Brian, Startup Support Expert, Valentin Țoc, Startup Support Manager
- The importance of community for a startup – Simona Brian, Startup Support Expert, Valentin Țoc, Startup Support Manager
- Startup Design Sprint – Daniel Andor, Founder & Lead Product Designer @Durran
- Types of investors and how to approach them – Oscar Kneppers, founder @Rockstart , Sebastian Gabor, co-founder @Digitail
- What to consider when raising an investment – Gautam Kumar, Investment manager @GoingVC
- How to build a pitch for investors – Sebastian Gabor, co-founder @Digitail
- Time management and the management of resources in a startup – Roger Osorio, founder @The School of Reinvention
- The power of a community for a startup – Liviu Cadariu, SWF Director
- Building a market launch strategy – Mihai Guran, Founder and Managing Partner @Atnnovate
- Media relations for startups – Irina Obushtarova, CEO and co-founder @Recursive
- Sales strategies for startups – Oana Manea, Business Development Manager @Front
- Legal aspects and contracts – Tudor Stanciu, co-founder @Ventures’n’Law
- Pricing strategies – Emanuel Martonca, founder @Soft Fight
- Strategies to attract customers – Eoin McGuinness, Head of Startups CEE & MEA @HubSpot
- Strategies for building a team – Tudor Birlea, founder @Freya Recruitment
- Sales strategies – Eoin McGuinness, Head of Startups CEE & MEA @HubSpot
- Sales Automation Strategies – Eoin McGuinness, Head of Startups CEE & MEA @HubSpot
- SEO Management Strategies – Eoin McGuinness, Head of Startups CEE & MEA @HubSpot
- Strategies for Attracting US Investments – Jeff Wallace, President @Global Kinetics, Paul Kallmes, Co-Founder @Silicon Valley in Your Pocket, and Kal Deutsch, Co-Founder @Silicon Valley in Your Pocket
- Recruitment strategies – Eoin McGuinness, Head of Startups CEE & MEA @HubSpot
- The importance of organizational culture in a startup – Jair Halevy, Startup Program Manager @Miro
- Presentation strategies for Demo Day – Razvan Suta, Business Development Manager @Startup Wise Guys
- Strategies for attracting investments from Romania – Alexandru Bogdan, CEO @ROCA X Business Development Ciprian Harabagiu, founder @Decalex
- Strategies for Attracting US Investments – Jeff Wallace, President @Global Kinetics, Paul Kallmes, Co-Founder @Silicon Valley in Your Pocket and Kal Deutsch, Co-Founder @Silicon Valley in Your Pocket
- Scaling strategies – Ciprian Harabagiu, founder @Decalex
Awarded Startups at Demo Day
>> Best Startup – Bloomcoding. Initially founded in Moldova, the startup has successfully extended to two other markets during Rubik Garage – Bulgaria and Poland.
>> Best Pitch – Chambr. Chamber is already present in over 23 countries and has over 25 paying clients, including UiPath.
>> Cohort Award – TULIPR. Under the motto #GiveBeforeYouGet, the founders of the cohort had the chance to award their own prize. At the moment of winning this, TULIPR already has over 1K clients, including Deloitte and Best Jobs, and raised an investment of 150K euros.
>> Popularity Award – Chambr (over 800 votes).
>> ROCA X Award, which consists of 12 months of mentorship, was awarded to the Ukrainian startup Pocket IP.
>> Startup Wise Guys Award – stock.estate and TULIPR. The SWG award consists of fast track to a pitch day or selection bootcamp for one of their accelerator programs & immersion week to work from SWG office for 1 week/10 days during the Slush conference week. Furthermore, SWG will guide the chosen startups to network within Tallinn startup ecosystem.
>> The SeedBlink Award – Bloomcoding. SeedBlink waived its setup fee on their platform, worth 3,000 euros if the startup will be elected and have successful fundraising on SeedBlink.
Boryana Levterova, Infinity Toy Box Bulgaria:
I find it useful that the program stretches over a few months, so we have time to turn things into practice. The Rubik Hub team has also been very helpful in connecting us with people who can help us overcome our challenges: advisors, other startups etc. What is also helpful is that the startups come from different countries and industries, so everyone brings a lot of different perspectives. I would highly recommend the program to anyone looking to grow their startup with strategic and friendly guidance from a group of outstanding individuals.
Emil Chichioi, Bloomcoding:
The Rubik Hub experience was transformational, and continues to be. It provides many opportunities, and opens a lot of doors. The structure and quality of the program are extremely excellent. For an equity-free accelerator, this is a must for any startup that wishes to get boosted to the next level. Coming to Rubik Hub was a blast. The people are truly happy to help. We also came back for another weekend after 4 weeks because we liked the place so much. It really feels like you are building a unicorn inside their hub.
In February 2023, Bloomcoding raised €1,000,000 from Prague-based Credo Ventures, Warsaw-based Inovo VC, and Kyiv-based u.ventures. More on this, here.
Rubik Garage is free of charge and is powered by Rubik Hub and the North-East Regional Development Agency. This was the third edition of the program and the first international one.
Thanks to everyone who supported us in this journey!