Trevor Thomas-Uribe is leading the charge for Bitwise Capital to invest in underserved business startups. Photo via Bitwise

published on June 23, 2022 - 12:15 PM
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After executing a nationwide growth campaign armed with more than $100 million in venture capital, Bitwise Industries looks to pay it forward by investing in other Central Valley businesses.

Bitwise Industries’ newest division is Bitwise Capital, an investment firm and fund that will invest directly into Central Valley startups. It will target underserved, underrepresented founders who are creating innovative solutions.

“We know that here in the Central Valley, it’s really tough due to a lack of capital,” said Trevor Thomas-Uribe, general partner at Bitwise Capital.

In the Bay Area, Thomas-Uribe said it’s common for entrepreneurs to cash a big check from a relative to start up a business. 

“That’s fairly rare in our community,” he said. “We want to be that person — that friendly community member for folks that want to start something new here.” 

The Bitwise Industries team first started discussing the venture capital fund before the pandemic hit. They started dreaming up ways to better support the business community and give back in a new way. 

Bitwise Capital was the result.

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“We want to support companies not located in major tech hubs. The kinds of companies that are underrepresented in most venture capital portfolios yet have the drive and talent to create innovative products,” Thomas-Uribe said. “By helping them get to the next level, Bitwise Capital will also promote job creation in these regions, driving economic growth.

Bitwise Capital plans to make investments between $100,000 and $200,000 for up to 40 companies locally. Entrepreneurs will be supported and guided to an exit coveted by startup founders — an initial public offering of stock or acquisition.

Bitwise Capital is seeking the proverbial ground floor in that scenario.

“We want to be the first investor,” he said. 

Bitwise Capital is managed by a team of partners with decades of experience, more than 30 investments and 12 successful exits. These investments have generated more than $500 million and created 4,000-plus jobs.

Bank of America and Central Valley Community Foundation have invested in Bitwise Capital, making it possible for Bitwise Capital to begin supporting Valley entrepreneurs.

“Bank of America’s investment into Bitwise Capital underscores our ongoing efforts to address the persistent gap in access to growth capital for minority-led businesses.” said Mark Riley, president, Bank of America Fresno. “Being based in the ethnically-diverse Central Valley, Bitwise is well positioned to help more minority entrepreneurs scale their business ideas, which will ultimately spur job growth and increase economic opportunities across the region.” 

The initial fund will be primarily used to support founders and entrepreneurs in rural, underserved areas, specifically between Merced and Bakersfield. 

Bitwise Capital will operate under the existing vision of Bitwise Industries — to help the marginalized. That involves bringing them to a new way for starting companies here.

“I think when you go to start something new, there’s a huge barrier to how venture capital works and how you get money from someone else to start something new,” he said. 

While Bitwise Capital has not announced any of its investments thus far, founders and CEOs can reach out and pitch their startup for potential funding. For more information, send an email here and ask to be connected with Trevor Thomas-Uribe.

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