Unveiling the Triumphs, Setbacks, and Valuable Insights of Bitwise Industries: A Tale of a Tech Enterprise

by | Jun 3, 2023

Bitwise Industries was once a beacon of hope for underserved communities, using technology to transform cities and provide opportunities for those who may have otherwise been left behind. Its founders, Jake Soberal and Irma Olguin Jr., had a noble mission to provide tech-based solutions to cities often overlooked by Silicon Valley.

Bitwise’s flagship program, Geekwise Academy, was a force for good, offering training in coding, web development, and other tech skills to apprentices from disadvantaged backgrounds. Through its rapid expansion, Bitwise had expanded into several facilities across the country, including buildings in Bakersfield, the Bay Area, Toledo, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas. The company was set to expand into several more cities, including Chicago, Buffalo, NY, Greeley, Colo., and Las Cruces, NM.

However, Bitwise’s expansion came at a cost, and the company struggled to maintain a profitable business model. Its co-founders tried to pivot the company towards more profitable ventures, but many of these services were built on other companies’ products, making it difficult to differentiate Bitwise from other tech companies.

The company’s financial troubles came to light when the co-founders announced furloughs for all employees, citing financial difficulties as the reason. It soon emerged that Bitwise owed the City of Fresno business taxes dating back to September 2020. The mayor’s office also accused Bitwise of violating California’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining or WARN Act by not giving 60-day notice that a furlough was coming. The furloughs left Bitwise’s employees in a state of uncertainty, with no timeline for when or if they would be able to return to work.

The news of Bitwise’s financial troubles was a blow to the community, which had seen the company as a force for good. City and state leaders have since stepped in to try to find resources for Bitwise’s employees. A resource fair was held on June 9th to help connect employees with job opportunities, and state assemblyman Jim Patterson encouraged affected employees to apply for unemployment.

Despite its difficulties, Bitwise’s co-founders remain optimistic. They believe that their mission is still important and are exploring new ways to achieve it. Bitwise’s story serves as a cautionary tale for tech companies that try to do too much too soon. While a noble mission is important, it’s crucial to strike a balance between it and profits and maintain a sustainable business model.

Bitwise’s rise and fall is a reminder that the tech industry is not immune to financial difficulties, especially during a pandemic. However, its founders’ determination to continue pursuing their mission is inspiring, and they hope that their experience will inspire other tech companies to take a measured approach to expansion and focus on their core mission.

In conclusion, Bitwise Industries was once a shining example of a tech company committed to transforming the lives of underserved communities. However, the company’s rapid expansion proved costly, and its attempts to pivot towards more profitable ventures were unsuccessful. Despite this setback, Bitwise’s co-founders remain resolute in their mission and hope that their story will inspire other tech companies to take a more measured approach to expansion and focus on what truly matters – their mission.