Gridless, a bitcoin mining company that is focused on rural communities in East Africa, has raised $2 million in a seed investment round led by Stillmark and Block, Inc., according to a press release sent to Bitcoin Magazine. This comes in addition to an angel round led by Factor[e].
The investment is intended to support further expansion of bitcoin mines across Africa. In regards to this mission, the CEO of Gridless Erik Hersman said, “Africa needs affordable electricity. 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.”
In its first year of operation, Gridless has entered five different project contract pilots in rural Kenya alongside HydroBox, an African hydroelectric energy company. Three of these pilots are now operational. Gridless finances the construction and managers the operation of the data centers in these rural communities. The company has now set its sights on expansion into other areas in East Africa.
In regards to their decision to lead this funding round alongside Block, Alyse Killeen, managing partner at Stillmark, stated, “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. 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.”
Thomas Templeton, lead for bitcoin mining and wallet at Block explained the company’s view too, adding that “Gridless represents a close strategic alignment with our vision of ensuring the bitcoin network increasingly leverages clean energy, in combination with bitcoin computational centers around the world.”
According to the press release, in 2020 more than 50% of Africans were without electricity. Gridless identifies bitcoin mining as playing a pivotal role in revolutionizing Africa’s access to cheap and reliable electricity. The release corroborates Gridless’ goal of increasing this access, as it explains, “The electricity generated from these sites is prioritized for community electrification and to support community uplift business such as containerized cold storage for local farmers, battery charging stations for electric motorcycles, and public WiFi points. After those needs are met, the remaining electricity capacity is used to power the bitcoin computational mining datacenter.”