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Open call for CEE start-ups scaling to the USA: Rubik Garage Scale To USA 2023 Cohort

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Rubik Garage, the equity-free and fee-free accelerator for promising CEE start-ups that target the US market, has opened applications for their upcoming batch of beneficiaries. If you’re looking to grow your start-up through strategic guidance, the application deadline is November 1st, 2023. 

The open call for CEE start-ups targets businesses that already have provable traction, a scalable product or service with a heavy innovative component, and a founder-market-fit in a European country who are currently trying to launch or scale their business. Sounds like you? Here’s what you stand to gain by applying to this year’s cohort:


What To Expect From Rubik Garage 2023-2024

Rubik Hub has managed to grow and become reliable through their community-oriented approach, which is heavily focused on creating a complete entrepreneurial journey from self-discovery to attracting the first rounds of investment. 

The accelerator is hybrid, but with a very valuable in-person approach. The experience and the 4 month journey aims to build a soft landing for the startups, which includes:

  • A potential 100,000 euro investment from Fortech Investments, if the startup aligns with their portfolio.
  • Access to more than 1500 investors and US family offices with the support of Flowlie, their fundraising tech partner 
  • Two Demo Days in the USA in Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas
  • A 10-day immersive startup experience with meetings with US investors and partners, and 1:1 meetings
  • Direct engagement with 8+ US-based investment syndicates, mentors and founders, through 1:1 sessions, online workshops, and coaching
  • Exposure at SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas, a major tech event
  • Access to CEE startup ecosystem as part of the Economic Delegation to the USA · 
  • Financial support, bursaries, benefits, perks and  discounts from global partners

The acceleration period for this upcoming cohort is November 2023 – March 2024, and it consists of three different stages, whose approach is to gradually deep dive into the scaling opportunities through: 

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The Founders Bootcamp – November 19-21, 2023. This first part of the acceleration program takes place in-person and consists of a comprehensive 3-day event. 

The 3-Month Online Program – December 2023 – February 2024. The second part of the program takes place online, including direct engagement, as well as personalized sessions with over 30 mentors, experts, founders and investors that operate within that market. 

It comprises at least 15 live workshops, personalized 1:1 mentoring sessions, ‘Meet the Investors’ sessions, and ‘Ask Me Anything’ meetings with accomplished founders. Part of the program will be tailored based on the needs of the selected startups.

The USA Immersion – March 2024. This 10-day trip targets Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas, and features the two Demo Days, meetings with American investors and partners. In order to offer a complete experience, the accelerator also provides this cohort with exposure at the SXSW Conference – the largest event of its kind in the region. 

Accelerating Business Success 

Rubik Garage is organized by Rubik Hub, part of North-East RDA, the Romanian start-up hub whose headquarters is in Piatra Neamt. One thing that start-up programs like Rubik’s accomplish is accelerate the pace at which quality businesses that are just getting started can make it into the real world and become operational and profitable. To date, they have a community of more than 200 mentors and founders, and have helped more than 300 start-ups from more than 15 countries. The Rubik Hub community startups raised until now more than 24 million euros from VCs and investors.

By nurturing strategic partnerships with powerful organizations such as Fortrech Investments, Google for Startups, WIT Angels Club and AmCham Romania, this accelerator has expanded its scope since its first edition and as this open call for CEE start-ups proves, it operates regionally. 

“WIT Angels Club is delighted to partner with the Rubik Garage Accelerator – Scale to the USA Edition. From our first chats with the Rubik Hub team, it was clear they were building a program that is highly focused, pragmatic, and aimed at priming startups for success in the U.S. market.

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The structure of the accelerator, including the intense kickoff bootcamp, ongoing mentorship, and Demo Days in both San Francisco and Austin, offers the kind of comprehensive support that startups need to scale effectively. It’s a hands-on approach that blends technical, operational, and strategic elements, which we like a lot. Given that WIT Angels Club also has a footprint in the U.S., we see tremendous value in facilitating connections between European startups and U.S. stakeholders”, says Ruxandra Muys-Stoian, co-founder of WIT Angels Club.

Mitigating The Need For More Targeted Support

Valentin Iulian Țoc, Rubik Garage Accelerator Manager, has agreed to tell us more about the story behind the acceleration program: 

What inspired the creation of the Rubik Garage Scale to USA #6 program, and what specific goals or objectives are you hoping to achieve with this cohort?

The creation of the Rubik Garage Scale to USA #6 accelerator was inspired by the need for growth & network of local start-ups. Last year, we did a pilot program and validated the interest and a real need for access, networking, and knowledge for European founders about the US market. Feedback from the last cohorts underscored the necessity for more targeted support in navigating regulatory, cultural, investment and business landscape differences. We aim to facilitate access to investors, give relevant knowledge, build a soft landing pad for the participating start-ups, and also create the context of a reality check for each one of them.

What unique challenges or opportunities do you believe CEE start-ups face when entering the US market, and how do you address them?

CEE start-ups often boast innovation but may lack growth opportunities and market access. We address this by leveraging our network to facilitate introductions and collaborations. Some startups cross the ocean too early, and some lack legal or cultural knowledge. 

For both cases, Rubik Garage is the context where they can meet founders who had a similar journey, investors who know the metrics and KPIs needed, or experts who can offer their support in very specific matters. All of this is to enable founders to make informed decisions. Our strategic partners, mentors, and community partners will be close to the founders and will give tailored support.

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How does this program align with the broader mission & strategy of your organization for supporting international start-up growth?

At Rubik Hub, we embarked on a brave mission to develop and connect communities, together with whom we inspire, educate, and accelerate start-ups from 0 to 1 and create global successful businesses. This edition of the Rubik Garage Accelerator aligns perfectly by offering European start-ups a platform to scale internationally, especially in the most-wanted US market. One of our main directions is to build the community and foster collaborations. 

The program is designed to facilitate partnerships between start-ups and US-based enterprises, investors, and stakeholders. This is also beneficial for partners and stakeholders from Europe, as we plan to build a delegation of stakeholders to participate in the immersion week and the two Demo Days in San Francisco and Austin, alongside the founders. Past programs have led to successful market entries and significant growth. The latest example is Chambr, a start-up from last year’s edition. They were recently selected by Techstars Silicon Valley, following their relocation to New York after the Rubik Garage Demo Day in 2022.

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