Bill Gross started his first company, Solar Devices, in high school during the 1973 energy crisis.
Bill Gross started his first company, Solar Devices, in high school during the 1973 energy crisis. He sold more than 10,000 kits and plans for solar energy products in the back of Popular Science magazine, helping him pay his way through the California Institute of Technology, where he graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1981. While at Caltech, Gross patented and sold high-end loudspeakers. After graduating, he created a natural language interface for the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet, which was then acquired by Lotus. In 1991 he started Knowledge Adventure, making multimedia educational products, becoming the 3rd largest in the educational software market before selling to Vivendi in 1995. In 1996, filled with ideas and inspired by Thomas Edisun’s research lab, Gross founded Idealab, an incubator whose mission is to challenge the status quo and tackle big ideas that others will not. Idealab just celebrated its 20th anniversary, and in that period, has started more than 100 companies, with more than 40 successful IPO’s and acquisitions. Among Idealab’s successes is GoTo/Overture, where he is recognized as inventing the CPC (cost-per-click) business model that powers most of the monetization of the internet. He licensed the technology to Google and sold the company to Yahoo in 2003. Gross has also started many solar energy companies, including eSolar, Energy Innovations (acquired by Suntech), RayTracker (acquired by First Solar), and Thermata (acquired by Solar Reserve). Today he runs Edisun Solar Microgrid, a company with a breakthrough solution to make baseload solar power practical and scalable. Edisun is pioneering a radical cost-reduction in solar energy with a new method of closed-loop concentration and a patented Rock-Air thermal battery. In addition to serving as Chairman of the board of both Edisun and Idealab, Gross is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Caltech and of the Art Center College of Design.
We are at an amazing tipping point with recent renewable energy breakthroughs. To achieve a carbon-free world, the challenge is staggering, but so is the size of the opportunity. Technology and innovation pioneer Bill Gross shares new developments that make this tipping point a reality.
One of the tech world’s iconic innovators shares some ground-breaking new solar energy, energy efficiency, and energy storage technologies, and with that, why clean technology remains a staggering opportunity today.