Bitwise Industries Secures $27M, Among the Largest Series A Raises Ever by a Female Latinx Founder

By
6/19/19


FRESNO, Calif., June 19, 2019 — Bitwise Industries (www.bitwiseindustries.com) has raised $27M as part of its Series A financing led by Kapor Capital and New Voices Fund. This represents one of the largest Series A ever raised by a Latinx female-led company. The funding also includes a major investment by the Quality Jobs Fund, a project of the New World Foundation seeded by the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. The capital supports the company’s goal of activating human potential for the technology industry in underdog cities.

“Fundraising milestones like these are monumental for women of the Latinx community, and I hope the size of what we’ve done is soon eclipsed by the next female or person of color. This country is filled with stories similar to mine – people from underserved communities, who never thought these kinds of opportunities would be accessible to them,” said Irma L. Olguin Jr., CEO and co-founder, Bitwise Industries. “This investment will further Bitwise’s ability to make what was serendipity in my life far more common. By connecting people from marginalized places to the skills they need to enter the technology industry, and by surrounding them with vibrant and inclusive spaces, we will transform communities.”

“Sourcing talent from traditionally overlooked and undervalued pools is one of the most effective strategies for companies to remain competitive as the demand for innovative technology solutions accelerates and the expectations for enhanced revenue, performance, and brand trust increase,” said Richelieu Dennis, founder of the New Voices Fund. “We’ve chosen to invest in Bitwise as one of the only private entities approaching the realities of the economy, technology and marginalized communities with a successful, repeatable business model that supports all three areas – and one that we look forward to determining how to scale.”

Bitwise has produced more than 1,000 new software developers, attracted over 200 technology companies to its facilities, contributed to the creation of thousands of jobs in the region, and turned 250,000 sq. ft of previously blighted downtown buildings into desirable commercial real estate. The newly acquired financing will enable Bitwise to continue its growth in Fresno and expand to other cities, beginning with Bakersfield, Calif.

“Bitwise has significantly improved economic and community outcomes in Fresno,” said Colin Greer, president of the New World Foundation. “Through the resources made available to us through the generosity and commitment of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, the Quality Jobs Fund is excited to invest in Bitwise so they can create similar results in new communities.”

“The company’s approach of weaving together training and education with software development and commercial activity in a common physical space has proven to revitalize communities while also successfully addressing the growing skills gap in the tech industry,” said Mitchell Kapor, Partner at Kapor Capital. “Our investment in Bitwise is based on our shared belief that genius can be found anywhere, but until opportunity has the same reach, we need companies like Bitwise that will take action to close that gap.”

The lead investors are joined by an outstanding roster of investors including Motley Fool Ventures, Lumina Foundation, Libra Foundation and Pi Investments Innovation (both investments facilitated by Candide Group), Acumen America, Plum Alley, Aera VC, GingerBread Capital, Arlan Hamilton’s joint venture with Mark Cuban, Kat Taylor, Morgan Simon, Derrick Morgan and Reach Capital, among others.

About Bitwise Industries
Bitwise Industries was founded in 2013 by Irma L. Olguin, Jr., and Jake A. Soberal with the goal of activating human potential for the technology industry in Fresno, Calif. Bitwise now operates three robust lines of business that sustain and support this objective. Geekwise Academy trains people to code, with a focus on marginalized groups, to give them the skills for today’s job market. Bitwise’s commercial real estate provides a physical home for aspiring technologists, fast growing technology companies, and many mission-aligned companies that hire out of Geekwise Academy; all of which contribute to the ongoing downtown revitalization efforts of the cities where Bitwise is based. And, Shift3 Technologies is a custom software development shop that pairs senior talent with entry-level programmers from Geekwise Academy to build and deliver top quality software solutions to clients around the world. Learn more about Bitwise at www.bitwiseindustries.com.