Mr. William T. Gross (BS '81)
Bill Gross is the founder and CEO of Idealab. Over the last 24 years, Idealab has created and operated more than 150 companies, created more than 10,000 jobs, and had more than 45 successful IPOs and acquisitions in the areas of software, renewable energy, online advertising, Internet services, robotics, and transportation. Among the companies begun at Idealab are Overture Services, Internet Brands, and Picasa. Many of these companies were among the first to introduce new business ideas to the market and have helped to shape the technology landscape.
Gross is widely credited with inventing the concept of paid search when he founded GoTo.com in 1998 with its cost-per-click business model. After a successful IPO and becoming the global market leader in paid search, Overture Services, as the company was then known, was acquired by Yahoo! in 2003. Today, his pioneering idea powers the multibillion-dollar online search market, is used by millions of websites around the world, and remains one of his most significantly impactful inventions. Gross's newest effort in renewable energy is Edisun Microgrids, a company whose breakthrough technology will contribute meaningfully to the world's efforts to minimize reliance on fossil fuels.
A lifelong entrepreneur, Gross started several companies prior to Idealab, including GNP Development, which he sold to Lotus; Knowledge Adventure, which he sold to Vivendi; and CitySearch, which went public before being merged into TicketMaster and subsequently acquired by InterActiveCorp. In addition to serving on the Caltech board, he also serves on the boards of numerous organizations, among them the Art Center College of Design. He received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Caltech in 1981.
Standing Committee: Institute and Alumni Relations; Student Experience; Technology Transfer