FRESNO, Calif. — Feb. 24, 2021 — Bitwise Industries (www.bitwiseindustries.com) has raised $50M in series B financing led by Kapor Capital, with participation from JPMorgan Chase, Motley Fool Ventures, and ProMedica to support the actions needed to stop the widening wealth gap, end institutional discrimination, and remove the barriers for accessing high-wage, high-growth jobs. This latest round of funding will support the company’s growth into multiple new markets across the country beginning with Toledo, Ohio.
“The spread of COVID-19 and events of 2020 exposed the deep flaws that have existed for decades in the United States, and laid bare the unsustainable nature of our current systems/policies, and how they trap people in a cycle of poverty,” said Irma Olguin Jr., CEO and co-founder, Bitwise Industries. “As a result of racist and classist policies, millions of Americans are starving, have lost their homes, have become homeless, and thousands are dying each day without access to affordable healthcare. The past year showed us that there is no time to waste and we need to be aggressive about driving change now.”
Bitwise is one of the largest tech apprenticeship providers in the country and its Series B will largely support the expansion of its new initiative, the Digital New Deal (DND) across the country. In California, Bitwise has trained over 5,000 individuals with over 80% finding gainful technical employment, and turned 450,000 sq. ft of previously blighted downtown buildings into desirable commercial real estate.
“Our apprentices are able to earn-while-they-learn, instead of being blocked by the financial barriers of traditional education,” said Jake Soberal, CEO and co-founder, Bitwise Industries. “Technology is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States and positions in the field are high-wage, high-growth jobs. The Bitwise model empowers communities of concentrated poverty to access quality jobs in the fastest growing industry in the global economy.”
“We are bringing the full force of JPMorgan Chase to advance racial equity by investing in early-stage companies working to address challenges facing communities today, with a particular focus on serving the needs of Black and Latinx communities. We are proud to invest in Bitwise and their efforts to build a more inclusive workforce, by preparing individuals for technology careers, investing in communities and building new ventures,” said Erin Robert, Head of Impact Finance, JPMorgan Chase.
“Kapor Capital has partnered with Bitwise since their Series A round. We continue to enthusiastically support the company because the work they do is critical to overcoming the systemic racism which has left so many Americans impossibly far behind. The Digital New Deal initiative helps overcome the burdensome financial struggles facing Black and Brown communities in the pandemic,” said Mitchell Kapor, Partner at Kapor Capital. It is a solution that will put people inside the communities hurting the most back to work while also creating a pathway for expanding economic opportunities into the future.”
“At Motley Fool Ventures, we build our portfolio to reflect our best vision for the future and Bitwise is truly creating a beautiful future for people across the country,” said Ollen Douglass, Managing Director of Motley Fool Ventures. “Bitwise’s unique approach to workforce training has demonstrated the potential to rebuild cities and create pathways for underserved and underemployed Americans to join and benefit from the digital economy.”
“As an anchor institution and leader in addressing the social determinants of health, ProMedica is focused on the factors outside of our walls that affect the health and well-being of our community. Bitwise’s expansion into Toledo brings the resources our region needs to help improve the lives of the people we serve,” said Randy Oostra, President and CEO, ProMedica. “We’re excited to partner with Bitwise to uplift the individuals in our state from the lower third of the economy into higher wage, higher growth jobs.”
The lead investors are joined by an outstanding roster of investors including Candide Group, GingerBread Capital, Hunt Capital Investments, Impact Assets, Libra Foundation, Plum Alley and Western Technology Investment.
About Bitwise Industries
Bitwise Industries creates a bridge between humans from marginalized communities and stories of systemic poverty to skills and resources necessary to access opportunities in the tech industry. By leveraging public-private partnerships, Bitwise provides paid apprenticeships to students to learn tech skills, connects them to meaningful tech opportunities, and builds vibrant buildings in underestimated cities to house their work. By upskilling disenfranchised humans, it empowers them to change their own lives—which ignites and transforms the regional economies of the cities in which Bitwise serves.
Bitwise has raised more than $100M in support of this important work; expanded its model to serve five cities (Fresno, Bakersfield, Merced, Oakland, and Toledo); and built a tech apprenticeship engine that will drive national jobs/economic recovery in 2021. To learn more about Bitwise Industries, check out www.bitwiseindustries.com.