Bitwise Industries secures $50 million to expand, increase focus on tech job creation

Downtown Fresno's technology hub Bitwise Industries is growing again.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Bitwise Industries has landed $50 million in series B funding, something its co-founders are calling a huge feat for a city fighting to keep opportunities in the Central Valley.

"We have been at this now for seven and half years and through muscling our way through some hard stuff," said Irma Olguin Jr., co-founder of Bitwise. "(We) have now landed at this wonderful day where we get to share this extraordinary news about a different style of thing, where you don't typically find in these underdog cities."

The money will be used for expansion and focus on an apprenticeship program, teaching people technology skills no matter their background.

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"We're completely committed to helping folks in the lower third of the economy gain access to these fast-growing, high-earning industries. And positions that will do everything we can to get them there," said Bitwise Fresno Vice President Thilani Grubel.

To date, Bitwise has trained more than 5,000 individuals, and more than 80% of them have found employment in tech.

Local leaders in the Central Valley applauded the news and the jobs it could bring.

"It's exciting news for Bitwise and exciting news for Fresno. It's much more exciting for those individuals who will be allowed to enter into the technology field to have those apprenticeship jobs that maybe weren't afforded to them in the past.," said Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer.

Governor Gavin Newsom joined the announcement applauding the impact on California.

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The tech hub has revitalized four buildings in downtown Fresno.

It currently has buildings under construction in Merced, Bakersfield and Oakland.

Officials say real estate is just a third of its work and that the pandemic has not deterred their mission.

The company announced it would be expanding to Toledo, Ohio. Bitwise purchased a building and will be renovating it similar to its other spaces.

The State Center Warehouse is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. The other buildings in the Central Valley should be making progress in 2022.
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