By Sam Desatoff
Bitwise Industries, a technology aggregate, has a goal of making Fresno a location known for innovations in the technology industry as well as a factor in boosting the local economy.
Jake Soberal, CEO of Bitwise, said that his company is trying to create and continue to be the community for inspiring entrepreneurs and developers in the tech world.
“When we try to put a tag on Bitwise, it’s that we are the mother ship of technological education collaboration and innovation in Fresno,” Soberal said. “We want to make Fresno a technology hub on par with the Silicon Valley or New York or Los Angeles and make technology in Fresno a viable sector of the economy.”
Similar to the way Silicon Valley is centered on Stanford University, Bitwise hopes to turn Fresno into a hotbed of innovation by utilizing students and alumni from valley colleges.
“I would bet that of those working in our building, probably about 50 percent are Fresno State graduates,” Sobarel said. “There’s a lot of opportunity for students to connect into what we do. I think a key component is just how important the university and its population are to what we’re doing.”
Based in Downtown Fresno, Bitwise consists of four separate sectors: Hashtag, SHIFT3 Technologies, the Bitwise Mural District and the Geekwise Academy.
While discussing the relative advantages Fresno possesses in regards to its budding technology scene, Soberal stressed the importance of people.
“The biggest advantage that Fresno has is people, Soberal said. One of the things we have done to capitalize on that advantage is the Geekwise Academy.”
The Geekwise Academy offers a six-week course that serves as an introduction to HTML and basic coding languages.
“[Coding] has become a fluency that’s a lot like reading or doing basic math,” Soberal said. “It is something that we’re all going to touch on in our careers regardless of what we do.”
The rising importance of technology in today’s business world is becoming more apparent each year Soberal said.
“Raising our collective acumen in technology is going to be key to growing our economy,” Soberal said.
Hashtag is another sector of Bitwise that seeks to provide a venue for Fresno’s technology leaders.
Located in Fresno’s Tower District, Hashtag is a 24 hour “collaborative workspace” where, for a monthly fee, local web developers, game designers and other “techies” can gather to toss ideas around and collaborate on projects together.
A number of Hashtag regulars have had their work recognized on a larger scale, and many have national ambitions.
Bitwise also participates in ArtHop, an event that occurs every first and third Thursday of each month in Downtown Fresno and in Tower District.
Bitwise partakes as a venue on one of the stops of the ArtHop where people can take in different artists’ works of various genres.
“We like to take every opportunity to get people in the door and introduce them to the [Bitwise] community,” Soberal said.
Bitwise’s ArtHop venue takes place at the Bitwise Mural District on 2210 San Joaquin Street in Downtown Fresno.