A Kenyan-based Bitcoin mining company Gridless has secured a $2 million seed investment round led by Stillmark and Block, Inc. in addition to an angel round led by Factor[e].
The company said the investment will support its further expansion of bitcoin mines across African markets where it has been supplying new energy.
Africa needs affordable electricity,” said Erik Hersman, CEO of Gridless.
“Our work in supporting renewable energy mini-grid developers fills a gap, helping developers expand faster, be more sustainable, and serve thousands of households. This investment, and the high caliber of partners that are coming alongside us, means that we can accelerate our rollout knowing that we have both the capital and strategic support required.”
We’ve been working with mini-grid hydro generators in Kenya on how to use their excess capacity for Bitcoin mining, which also significantly reduces the cost of power to the local community.— Gridless (@GridlessCompute) October 5, 2022
Small <100kW sites now, working towards 500kW soon. pic.twitter.com/frhoHi9uR0
Gridless designs, builds and operates bitcoin mining sites alongside small-scale renewable energy producers in rural Africa where excess energy is not utilized.
It also serves as the anchor tenant, financing the construction and managing the operation of data centers in rural communities where traditional industrial or commercial customers are not available.
In its first year, Gridless has contracted five project pilots in rural Kenya with HydroBox, an African hydroelectric energy company, three of which are currently operational. The company plans to expand to other geographies in East Africa in the near future.
The funding comes as Africa experiences a grassroots crypto movement, propelling the world’s highest proportion of retail payments of less than $1,000 and leading to far more peer-to-peer transactions proportionally than all other regions globally.
Bitcoin miners have been struggling to survive amid this year’s grueling market conditions, which have seen bitcoin prices fall and energy costs surge, reducing profit margins.
“Stillmark is focused on investing in companies that are helping to advance the Bitcoin ecosystem in ways that offer sustainable value and solutions to many,” says Alyse Killeen, Managing Partner at Stillmark.
“Gridless does this by bringing a socially and environmentally conscious approach to bitcoin mining, one that provides tangible benefits by way of access to electricity for communities in rural parts of East Africa. The Gridless leadership team is comprised of veteran entrepreneurs in the technology space with substantial roots in the region. They are well-respected amongst their colleagues and peers, and we are excited about the opportunity to further support their efforts.”