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Bitwise Financial Troubles Continue as It Furloughs All Employees



Bitwise Industries announced furloughs because of financial hardships. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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Bitwise Industries has furloughed all its employees as the Fresno-based technology and real estate company experiences financial hardships.

Monday, company co-CEO Jake Soberal and Irma Olguin Jr. held a “team meeting,” followed by an email to staff.

“We currently find ourselves in a situation where it is necessary to furlough 100% of our Bitwise Industries employees and AlphaWorks apprentices, effective immediately. Paychecks from last week will most likely not go through when deposited. This means that all Bitwise work stops for the time being. We understand this is difficult and want to provide some information you will need to navigate this situation,” Soberal wrote.

Bitwise says it has 300 employees in its Fresno offices. The company also lists offices in Merced, Oakland, Bakersfield, Toledo, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas.

Soberal said technically the furloughed workers are still employees. They could be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Last week, several Bitwise told employees their paychecks may not be honored by banks.

There have also been reports that Bitwise employees no longer have access to internal communications systems, such as Slack.

Since the announcement Monday night, several now-furloughed employees said on Twitter they are seeking work.

An email from Bitwise co-CEO Jake Soberal on company furloughs. (special to GV Wire)

Soberal Said Things Were Fine

In an interview with GV Wire last week, when Soberal was asked about the financial health of the company, he said “I hope it’s good.”

Bitwise has raised $157 million from investors over the last four years, including a $80 million round announced in February.

Money came from investors such as Kapor Center — associated with Oakland-based venture capitalist Kapor Capital — Motley Fool, and major financial firms Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Citibank.

Bitwise is late on paying its Fresno County property taxes. It is currently late on its second installment for the 2022-23 tax bill — approximately $122,000 was due on April 10. The company was one month late for the first installment of $122,000 that was due last December.

Of its four Fresno properties, it owns the State Center Warehouse (747 R Street) outright and leases three others. However, through its lease agreements, Bitwise is responsible for the taxes.

It owns the R Street building as part of a lawsuit settlement. Soberal’s business partners in refurbishing the building sued, claiming Bitwise refused to move into the building and pay rent.

Bitwise bought the building for $21 million.

A recent listing on a real estate broker website shows Bitwise looking to offload its R Street building, as well as two properties in Bakersfield.

Bitwise is also delinquent on its rent for its three leased Fresno properties, a real estate source told GV Wire.

The company just closed on property in Toledo, Ohio, and currently is refurbishing a building in Buffalo, New York.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email