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May 25, 2023

Cheers for 10 Years!

Celebrating Bitwise Industries’ Growth and Accomplishments

The year was 2013. Miley Cyrus was swinging around on that giant wrecking ball, the movie Frozen began taking over the brains of children and adults everywhere, and President Obama was getting inaugurated for his second term in office. But somewhere in Fresno, CA, Irma Olguin Jr. and Jake Soberal were hatching plans over a Red Bull and a gin and tonic, respectively. In 2023, we’re celebrating ten years of Bitwise Industries, and in this week’s blog, we’ll be revisiting Bitwise’s incredible growth and achievements over the last decade, while also taking a look ahead at what’s to come.

It All Started in the Mural District

Bitwise Industries’ initial presence began in the heart of downtown Fresno’s Mural District. All in hopes that they could build something meaningful in their community, this is where Irma and Jake came together to build a tech presence in the Central Valley while leaning heavily into local education efforts, where Irma taught coding classes to beginners with little-to-no development experience. The Bitwise-born Geekwise Academy was created to provide specialized coding courses, targeting underestimated humans who would have otherwise not found their place in tech, including a significant focus on veterans and the formerly incarcerated. Amidst all of this, Bitwise launched their development consulting company, Shift3 Technologies–becoming a beacon in the community for building reliable, efficient, technological solutions for local businesses and community organizations.

Place(s) to Call Home

Twenty-fifteen saw the first instance of the physical expansion of Bitwise Industries, with the opening of Bitwise’s South Stadium building, the first flagship headquarters for the rising company. This era also saw the first round of Series A funding, allowing Bitwise to stand-up locations in both Bakersfield, Oakland, and Merced—leasing updated, state-of-the-art spaces to businesses in local communities all over the Central Valley and beyond. By 2019, Bitwise’s expansion also saw the introduction of the Bitwise Hive and Bitwise|41, two more spaces in Fresno designed to accommodate both the company’s growing workforce, as well as creating spaces for local businesses to move into innovative tech campuses downtown. This also saw the unveiling of Bitwise’s Cowork, the premiere workspace for entrepreneurs and Central Valley residents alike, fostering a community of small business owners that continues into 2023. 

It was at this time that Bitwise Industries also launched Ordrslip, a software development company that has continued to help restaurants create efficient solutions for customers to order food from their favorite eatery with the touch of a button. Ordrslip continues to build custom mobile apps with partner integrations from companies like Square, Clover, and DoorDash. 

Community Response in the Midst of COVID-19

When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in early 2020, Bitwise did exactly what they knew needed to be done–jump in headfirst to help their community through the power of technology. In the uncertainty of job layoffs, business closures, and schools taking their learning remote, Bitwise developers and community members helped launch TakeCare, PodUp, and OnwardUS. These solution-based platforms helped the humans struggling with food insecurity, childcare, and access to government resources in real time, offering solutions all over the country for the unprecedented times. Bitwise’s employees went remote from 2020-2022, ensuring a safe work environment for employees, their families, and the greater communities. When returning to the office in 2022, Bitwise required masks as an added measure to continue keeping humans COVID-19 free. 

It was during this time that Bitwise saw the early iterations of their apprenticeship programs begin to help the economic transformation of communities without a tech presence; allowing the opportunity for people in those underestimated communities a chance to work and learn tech trades simultaneously. To date, more than 15,000 Bitwise apprentices have gone on to full-time employment, with some continuing to work for Bitwise. This was true to the mission that started way back in the Mural District with Geekwise Academy–giving humans the tools they need to get in the door with a growing skill set that holds great value in the tech industry. Bitwise continues to develop their apprenticeship programs with the help of local and national partners, most recently a partnership with Calbright College, focused on workforce development training, in addition to cultivating an apprenticeship program with the same goals in mind: give people the tools to develop the technical aptitude they need to carve a place out for themselves in the industry. 

The Dawning of a Brand New Era

It’s no secret that Bitwise’s expansion efforts have been at the forefront of the company’s growth–in just a few years, Bitwise expanded to Buffalo, New York and Toledo, Ohio. In the coming years, that list of ten current innovation hubs will only grow. From Colorado to Illinois, to a brand new facility in downtown Fresno, Bitwise continues to cultivate a culture of growth and challenging the status quo–letting humans know that they belong in the burgeoning world of technology. 

As 2023 ushers in Bitwise’s 10th anniversary, it also ushers in a whole host of new beginnings. This summer, Bitwise employees in Fresno will be moving into the newly renovated State Center Warehouse, a 100,000square-foot historical fixture on Fresno’s R Street that will serve as the new headquarters. Local businesses have already moved into the R St. Marketplace, including the Fresno staple Las Mañanitas, as well as Railway Pizza and Mosaic Cafe. These local eateries are just the beginning for Bitwise’s expansion efforts, with it’s new locations all over the country hoping to cultivate the same sense of community via the power of food and drink. ICYMI, Bitwise Bakersfield unveiled Reset Cafe in 2023, a barcade built on the foundation of bringing humans together. 

Looking Forward

At the end of the day, the heart of Bitwise Industries is humans. The goal is to lead the way through transformative tech and digital equity, bringing future-focused opportunities to cities that would otherwise have been left behind. What does the next ten years hold? When asked, Irma’s answer was simple; to just keep being a catalyst for change in underestimated communities. “Bitwise making it to a ten-year anniversary is a victory. We’re doing things the world hasn’t done because it’s very hard to do. My dream is that we survive and that we continue to make an impact in the places we’re in today. Surviving looks like building and growing a meaningful business that sustains itself. I would love to see us get to twenty years old, and I would love to see us continue to have hundreds and now thousands of meaningful stories of folks who have changed their lives, and by extension, their communities. And I would love that to not stop. My dreams are simple–I just want to keep going.”

Revolutionizing Technology and Changing Communities

Bitwise Industries creates technology solutions in Salesforce, DocuSign, and digital product development by leveraging a talented, diverse workforce from underestimated backgrounds to create digital equity worldwide. Bitwise is a catalyst for economic transformation with a proven record of year-over-year growth, positive outcomes, and has been recognized for its work on the global stage.

Bitwise has pioneered a movement in the technology industry through the development of skilled workforce talent and transformative job opportunities in secondary and tertiary markets.

This post was written by Amber Carpenter, Junior Copywriter, at Bitwise Industries. When she’s not writing, she’s experiencing what can only be referred to as a Soft Pants Era, so if you see her walking around in linen all summer, mind ya business.

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