A Dallas blockchain company says it is close to the “unicorn state” with a $ 66 million round of investment led by Japanese giant SoftBank and a California venture capital firm that supports Airbnb, Peloton and Alibaba.
InfStones said Wednesday that the new funding raises its total capital to more than $ 100 million. The blockchain infrastructure company previously raised $ 45 million. He did not provide a current valuation, but said it is now “almost unicorn-like,” a term given to startups that have reached a coveted valuation of more than $ 1 billion.
There are just over 1,100 unicorn companies worldwide, according to CB Insights. His list includes the precision medicine company based in Irving Caris Life Sciences and the software firms of Dallas o9 Solutions, ISN, LTK and Island.
Investors in the new round of InfStones are SoftBank Vision Fund 2, which invests in technology for the future, and GGV Capital, a venture capital firm in Menlo Park, California. INCE Capital, 10T Fund, SNZ Holding and A&T Capital. they also joined as investors. Last month, SoftBank’s Vision Fund reported losses of $ 27.4 billion for the year ended March, in part due to the massive sale of technology stocks.
InfStones, founded in 2018, said it will use cash injection to fund its expansion and accelerate growth, including hiring new employees and making acquisitions.
It has 40 employees worldwide in offices in Dallas, Palo Alto, California, Montreal and Beijing. It was based in Palo Alto until last year, when the company moved its headquarters to Dallas, where it is here to stay long-term, said business development director Sili Zhao.
“In the last two years we’ve hired a lot of new talent in Texas and the mid-US, and we’ve learned that Texas is a more business-friendly space,” Zhao said. “There are a lot of blockchain people in Texas and they have the [lobbying group] The Texas Blockchain Council.
About eight workers are based in the Dallas area. The company is renting space in Plano, but employees have been away since Omicron’s rise, Zhao said.
InfStones was founded by Zhenwu Shi, who earned a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2014. He worked as a senior software engineer at Oracle and as a platform engineer at C3 AI before founding InfStones.
Cryptocurrencies have plummeted since November, with Bitcoin losing more than half its value at its current price of about $ 30,000, but companies like InfStones are not so affected by its fluctuations. InfStones helps customers build applications on blockchain networks, including Ethereum, Cardano, Polygon, Solana, and Chainlink.
“A cryptocurrency accident always affects everyone, but it has a lesser impact on us because we are focused on infrastructure and not on the cryptocurrency trade,” Zhao said.
InfStones isn’t the only cryptocurrency company in North Texas that received a major check last year.
Dallas Blockmetrix, a crypto mining company founded last May, has raised more than $ 50 million in risk financing and $ 25 million in debt financing. Dallas-based cryptographic mining company Applied Blockchain began operations last summer and raised about $ 50 million. And Dallas-based crypto software company Aurox, which launched to the public in September 2020, announced a $ 5 million investment round in February.
Investors have been throwing money into the blockchain space. According to PitchBook, venture capital funding for cryptocurrency companies rose to $ 27 billion worldwide last year, more than the previous decade combined.
Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange became the first cryptocurrency unicorn in 2017 after raising $ 100 million, giving it a valuation of $ 1.6 billion. By the end of 2021, there were 64 unicorn crypts, according to The Block Research, which provides research on the digital asset ecosystem.
The NFT OpenSea auction market reached unicorn status last July after a $ 100 million round of funding led to a $ 1.5 billion valuation. In January, it secured an additional $ 300 million investment, raising its valuation to $ 13.3 billion.
Other unicorn crypts include Ripple, valued at $ 15 billion in January; Fireblocks, valued at $ 8 billion in January; and Gemini, which reached a valuation of $ 7.1 billion in November.
Cryptographic startups keep pace with some of the most traditional technology startups, such as the $ 13 billion Grammarly grammar check company and the $ 11 billion Bolt online payment platform.