Tech service startup Bitwise Industries raises $80 million in latest funding round
By Krystal Hu
(Reuters) - Bitwise Industries, a tech service provider that trains workers in underrepresented communities, has raised $80 million in a funding round led by existing investors Kapor Center and Motley Fool, the company told Reuters.
The latest investment valued the tech hub creator at over $600 million, people familiar with the matter said, from a $200 million valuation in early 2021.
Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Citibank also participated in the round, which brought its total funding to $180 million.
Founded in Fresno, California by Irma Olguin Jr and Jake Soberal, Bitwise invests in tech real estate, runs apprentice programs for marginalized communities and sells managed tech services to government and traditional businesses.
Launched in 2013, it has expanded training hubs into 10 cities across the United States, including Toledo, Ohio, and Bakersfield, California, with plans of growing to Chicago's South Side this year.
The company said it supported the training of over 10,000 individuals, 80% of whom have received technical employment. Half of its apprentices are female and about 20% are Black, according to the company.
The startup has doubled its revenue in 2022, said Soberal, its co-chief executive officer. He views Bitwise as a value-added consulting firm akin to Accenture, with abilities to train its own talent pool. The company reportedly generated revenue of $40 million in 2020.
The training program, supported by government workforce upskill funding and tech corporate funding, usually takes about 12-18 months to complete.
Soberal said the firm hasn't seen much impact by the recent layoffs in big tech companies and venture-backed startups.
"Most of our apprentices don't go to work for Google, Facebook and Amazon... they're going to work in technical roles at the County Office of Education, at the agribusiness and the manufacturer. There are millions and millions of unfilled jobs across the country in those categories."
(Reporting by Krystal Hu in New York; Editing by Rashmi Aich)