Rockstart Accelerator is looking to expand its connection to the Eastern European market
Eastern Europe is not new to Rockstart Accelerator. From their launch in 2012 they set their eyes in the region, gave key-notes and coached in several startup conferences, such as How To Web (set up by Bogdan Iordache, also a Rockstart mentor) and they have invested already in three startups from the region: Romanian Nexi, Moldovan/Romanian Dreamups and Ukrainian CareToSave – the last two just joined their recently launched Smart Energy accelerator. Rockstart Accelerator co-founder and Program Director, Rune Theill, pays regular visits to the region: “Currently there are so many exciting things happening in the startup scene in Eastern Europe. There are startups popping up everyday, so I need to go there couple of times a year to keep myself updated in the most current trends and developments in the scene”, says Rune. And continues, “I am always overwhelmed by the technical expertise of the founders I meet when I travel to Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine. I see a keep-on-going mentality and a passion to succeed in the founders there that I feel it’s a personal trait missing in many Western European founders – they are perhaps spoiled by the abundance of government funding available.”
“I meet many driven young entrepreneurs when I’m travelling in CEE. We recently accepted Tudor Tarlev, the Moldovan co-founder of Dreamups into our new Smart Energy Accelerator. I met Tudor in 2012 when he was working on a different project. Back then his product didn’t fit with our program, but impressed with his attitude, I kept in contact with him. When he applied for our first ‘vertical’ accelerator focused on Smart Energy startups there was no doubt that we needed to get him on board!”.
Why Rockstart Accelerator is looking to Eastern European startups? Rune Theill explains:
“Because of the eagerness to make change and innovate, many young people in Eastern Europe pursue an entrepreneurial career. Yet, the increase in entrepreneurs far outweighs the available capital, and that’s why we want to help the best startups fine-tune their businesses, raise funding and succeed globally.”
Rockstart Accelerator Web/Mobile Program
Following the fundamentals of Lean Startup, the program supports 10 startups with 15,000 euros in exchange of 8% of equity, backed by more than 100 mentors in the main European startup hub Amsterdam and includes 2 program elements: the 100-day Spring program and the additional 3-month Summer program. Among the mentors are serial entrepreneurs and experts such as Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten, founder of The Next Web, Werner Vogels, CTO at Amazon.com, and Ash Maurya, author of the book “Running Lean”.
While the first program element focuses on professional guidance by experts and pitching the startup to investors while working in an very international environment with 40 other startups, the Summer program offers a helping hand in closing funding, building an international customer-base and a one-month trip in Silicon Valley. During that trip startups will have access to Rocket Space, co-working space in the heart of San Francisco, support from 15 local mentors, meetings with top-tier VCs and potential local partners, and a month of gaining serious market traction with pitches at several Silicon Valley locations. As a result of this strategy, 70% of our startups have raised follow-on funding (EUR 20 million combined valuation) from VCs, including top-tier VC’s like Greylock Partners (Wercker) and Balderton Capital (3DHubs).
Apply for Rockstart Accelerator by January 17
With many startups potentially able to have a breakthrough in Eastern Europe, Rockstart Accelerator can help Eastern European startups by giving them deep knowledge, skills and connections to take home and become the number one in their domestic market, or/and succeed in the global sphere.