Bill Gross founded Idealab, based in Pasadena, in March 1996 and serves as the company’s Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. Bill founded Idealab to create and build successful businesses that capitalize on innovations in areas with significant growth opportunities, including the Internet.
Among Idealab’s current projects is WorldHaus, a venture that is creating modular housing for the rural poor in India. In collaboration with Gensler, Idealab plans to build one million of these homes within the decade.
A lifelong entrepreneur, Bill started several companies prior to Idealab. In high school, he founded Solar Devices, a firm that sold plans and kits for solar energy products. In college at the California Institute of Technology, he patented a new loudspeaker design and formed GNP Loudspeakers, Inc. After graduating from college, Bill and his brother Larry started GNP Development, Inc., which made a natural language product for Lotus 1-2-3 called HAL. In 1985, Lotus Development Corporation acquired GNP, and Bill became a software entrepreneur at Lotus Development.
Bill started Knowledge Adventure, an educational software publisher that grew to be the third largest educational software publisher in the world and was eventually sold to Cendant Software. It is now a division of Havas Interactive, which is owned by Vivendi.
Bill serves on the Boards of Directors of numerous companies. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the California Institute of Technology and the Art Center College of Design. Bill received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology.
Lifetime Achievement Award