FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – All workers have been furloughed by Bitwise Industries, a Fresno-based tech company, according to several employees.
Some officials around the city of Fresno expressed the same blindsided feeling in response to the news.
“It’s gonna be a big blow to downtown Fresno, clearly, and Fresno in general. They’re a big economic driver,” said Scott Miller, president and CEO of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce.
“This has the ramifications to have a big impact on our city,” said Luis Chavez, Fresno City Councilmember for District 5. “You know, Bitwise was really seen as the tech hub. They have over 900 employees across their company.”
“Like many in Fresno, we were surprised and saddened to hear about the financial difficulties that led Bitwise to issue furloughs to all its employees, ” said Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer. “It is our hope that Bitwise will be able to navigate successfully through these uncertain and difficult financial times.”
Officials stated that the company was rapidly expanding across the State and country, and was receiving an $80 million investment from Goldman Sachs in February.
“Bitwise is probably the number one Cinderella-type success story that Fresno has generated in the past few years,” said Miller.
According to the Fresno County Tax Collector’s Office, the company owes over $122,000 in back property taxes on multiple Fresno properties.
The City of Fresno Office of the Mayor also detailed the contractual agreement between the city and Bitwise for the digital empowerment program which kicked off in October of last year, when the city awarded Bitwise a $1 million grant to help serve small, underserved minority-owned businesses, using federal American Rescue Plan dollars.
“We are currently in communication with Bitwise to determine if the program will continue and whether any funding will need to be returned,” said Mayor Dyer.
“We’re gonna be checking to see if you know some of those funds are, were expended and if so in what manner. We’re obviously wanting to get some information from them,” said Chavez.
Bitwise has a network of locations in Bakersfield, Merced, and Oakland, aside from Fresno.
It’s also in Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Ohio, and the state of New York.