Bill Gross, the founder of Idealab, a quirky, Pasadena, Calif.-based start-up factory, thinks he can fix what ails the planet.
Since its launch in March 1996, Idealab has created more than 150 companies, almost all of them dreamed up by Gross. Of that group, Gross reports, about 50 have gone public or been acquired, around 60 have failed, and 40 are privately held operating companies in various stages. Among the companies he has built and exited are CarsDirect, CitySearch, Overture, Picasa, and Cooking.com.
The Idealab strategy is to start companies, give them a little capital, help them find outside investors, and then send them on their way. And then do it again. And again.
Lately, Gross has been focused on green tech. At the DLD tech conference in Munich over the weekend, Gross gave a short presentation in which he made the case that climate change is the world’s greatest challenge—“and one of our greatest economic opportunities.”