Sam Cassatt, former chief strategy officer at ConsenSys, had been working under the radar since 2020 for his web3 infrastructure startup Aligned. The company has now emerged from stealth with $34 million in seed funding.
Several investors backed the funding, including GSR, Altium Capital, Cavalry Fund and Ninja4. There was no lead investor. Angel investors, including ConsenSys alum and Darma Capital founder Andrew Keys, Gryphon Digital Mining executive Chris Ensey, entrepreneur Steve Wiggins, and former ConsenSys and PayPal employee Ron Patiro, also joined the funding.
This was an equity funding round and will help Aligned expand its web3 infrastructure, Cassatt told The Block. While Aligned currently offers computing hardware for mining cryptocurrencies such as ether (ETH) and other activities, it eventually hopes to become the Amazon Web Services for web3. The startup's hardware and infrastructure allow it to build services that look similar to a cloud services business from the outside, but designed specifically for the needs of web3 projects, according to Cassatt.
"We build custom hardware out of many components; some of those are chips that are already made. There are many applications of this hardware, and mining various cryptocurrencies is one of them, including ETH and others," said Cassatt.
Aligned is also building crypto staking infrastructure that will launch for clients "in the very near future," said Cassatt. Besides mining and staking infrastructure, Aligned also provides liquidity to DeFi protocols. To date, it claims to have deployed 15,000 ETH (around $37 million) across the DeFi sector by working with projects like NeptuneDAO.
There are currently over 30 people working for Aligned, and Cassatt plans to increase headcount to around 100 over the next few months.
To that end, Aligned will raise more funds in the near future. "Building data centers and manufacturing hardware are capital-intensive businesses, so additional capital will be needed to fully realize our model," said Cassatt.
Cassatt has also run the Aligned Capital venture fund since November 2019, but has so far only invested in one startup, an Ethereum Layer 2 network called Nahmii, according to data from Dealroom.
© 2023 The Block Crypto, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.