Kenya-based Gridless, a bitcoin mining company, has secured $2 million in seed funding to expand its bitcoin mines across Africa. The company, founded earlier this year by veterans of the connectivity, infrastructure and software space in East Africa, designs, builds, and operates bitcoin mining sites alongside small-scale renewable energy producers in rural Africa where excess energy is not utilized. The founders of Gridless recognized that many rural communities in Africa have access to renewable energy but lack the infrastructure to utilize it effectively. The company acts as an anchor tenant, financing the construction and managing the operation of data centers in these communities, where traditional industrial or commercial customers are not available.
The startup’s aim is to serve the needs of energy producers in Africa as they seek to electrify the continent and create more affordable power for people in rural communities. It uses bitcoin mining as a tool to accelerate growth in the sector and to further geographically distribute and secure the bitcoin network. 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 expansion will be funded by a $2 million seed round of funding, led by Stillmark and Block, Inc. In addition to pre-seed round led by Factor[e], which is also participating in this round. The CEO of Gridless, Erik Hersman, said that Africa needs affordable electricity and their work in supporting renewable energy mini-grid developers fills a gap, helping developers expand faster, be more sustainable, and serve thousands of households.
This funding will allow Gridless to continue to bring its socially and environmentally conscious approach to bitcoin mining, providing tangible benefits to communities in rural parts of East Africa. The leadership team of Gridless is comprised of veteran entrepreneurs in the technology space with substantial roots in the region, who are well-respected among their colleagues and peers. Investors see Gridless as an opportunity to advance the bitcoin ecosystem in ways that offer sustainable value and solutions to many.