This AI-Focused Blockchain Startup Moved from a $25k Seed to $30M Series A

The company will use the fresh capital to expand its team and accelerate the development of its platform.
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Quick take:

  • Hack VC led the round with participation from Solana Labs, Animoca Brands, LongHash, and OKX, among others.
  • IO Research is building a decentralised blockchain network that allows users to sell their excess GPU capacity to those who need more computing power.
  • IO’s decentralized AI compute cloud targets resource-intensive artificial intelligence companies.

IO Research, a decentralised cloud computing service provider has announced a $30 million funding round led by Hack VC.

The fundraising also attracted participation from Solana Labs, LongHash Ventures, Animoca Brands, OKX, 6MV, Multicoin Capital, Foresight Ventures, Aptos Labs, Delphi Digital, Continue Capital, MH Ventures, and ArkStream Capital, with Animoca Brands’ Yat Siu, Aptos’ Mo Shaikh, Jin Kang and Avery Ching joining as angel investors.

IO is building a decentralised platform that allows users to sell their excess graphics processing unit (GPU) capacity to resource-intensive artificial intelligence (AI) companies that need more computing power.

The fundraising comes at a time when technology companies are looking to capture emerging verticals in artificial intelligence with new products, amid the growing popularity of generative AI.

According to CrunchBase, IO research had raised a total of $25,000 in a seed round announced in October 2022. That is the time the crypto winter was beginning to take fold following the collapse of FTX and a number of Web3 funds.

Besides the rising interest in AI, the gulf in the difference in funding, (from $25k to $30 million) may also be indicative of how far the crypto market has come as the industry continues to recover. Funding for Web3 startups also seems poised to rise on a quarter-over-quarter basis in Q1 2024.

According to CrunchBase, the figure for the current quarter is now at $1 billion, only $200 million shy of the $1.2 billion raised in the fourth quarter of 2023. Before Q1 2024, Web3 fundraising fell for seven consecutive quarters going back to Q1 2022.

IO Research said it plans to use the fresh capital to expand its team and accelerate the development of its primary product,

Commenting on his company’s participation in IO’s fundraising, Shayon Sengupta, investment partner at Multicoin Capital said in a statement: “Industry analysts are still radically underestimating how much compute power will be needed to fuel the next generation of AI (applications).”

IO Research’s announcement follows another decentralised compute cloud service provider, NodeShift’s $3.2 million fundraising for a platform that allows Web3 developers to access more computing power.


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