Blockchain start-up 5ire said it raised $100 million in Series A funding from UK-based conglomerate SRAM & MRAM, making it the 105th unicorn in India and the 20th this year.
The firm said the investment made it the fastest-growing blockchain unicorn in India, valued at $1.5 billion.
5ire would use the funds to expand business and extend its footprint across three continents — Asia, North America, and Europe. It plans to make India the hub of operations and core area of focus. 5ire aims to hire the talent in the industry across functions like product and engineering.
“We are on a mission to embed sustainability into blockchain,” said Pratik Gauri, chief executive officer and founder of 5ire.
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The company was founded in August 2021 by Gauri and Prateek Dwivedi, along with web3 financier Vilma Mattila. 5ire had earlier raised $21 million in its seed round at a valuation of $110 million with participation from Alphabit, Marshland Capital, Launchpool Labs, and Moonrock Capital.
“As a scientist, I have always believed in finding better ways to do things, and 5ire is committed to finding solutions for the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals,” said Sailesh Lachu Hiranandani, chairman of the SRAM & MRAM group.
Venture capital funding for blockchain start-ups crossed $25.2 billion in 2021, an eightfold increase from the previous year, according to a CB Insights report. Of that worldwide funding total, US-based startu-ps got a little over half of the capital ($14.1 billion).
Last year in October, India’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, CoinSwitch Kuber, achieved unicorn status in a funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz and Coinbase Ventures. Named after the god of wealth, CoinSwitch Kuber, closed a $260 million Series C funding round. Existing investors Sequoia Capital India and Tiger Global also participated. CoinSwitch’s valuation increased to $1.9 billion — shooting past CoinDCX, India’s other crypto unicorn, which had announced a $1.1-billion valuation in August last year.
A blockchain is a decentralised ledger of all transactions across a peer-to-peer network. The technology enables the existence of cryptocurrency (among other things). Bitcoin is the name of the best-known cryptocurrency, the one for which blockchain technology was invented.
A cryptocurrency is a medium of exchange, such as the US dollar, but is digital and uses encryption techniques to control the creation of monetary units and to verify the transfer of funds, according to consulting firm PwC.