• Jack Dorsey's digital payments firm Block and Alyse Killeen's bitcoin-focused venture firm Stillmark, have led a $2 million seed investment into Gridless.
  • Gridless designs, builds and operates bitcoin mining sites alongside small-scale renewable energy producers in rural Africa where excess energy is not utilized. 
The three co-founders of Gridless at one of their mining sites in Kenya.

ACCRA, GHANA — Up until February, Janet Maingi didn't think much about bitcoin. Born and raised in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, Maingi had instead spent more than twenty years focused on trying to solve one of Africa's biggest problems: connectivity. To that end, she spent more than 20 years working in operations in the telecom industry, in companies specializing in internet and wireless networks to cable and satellite television. But earlier this year, the 45-year-old mother decided to take on the continent's second-biggest issue: Its energy problem.

Africa is a renewable energy mecca. There's an estimated 10 terawatts of solar capacity, 350 gigawatts of hydro, and another 110 gigawatts of wind, according to data from Energy, Capital & Power, an investment platform focused on Africa's energy sector.