Bill Gross has started over 75 companies and invested in many more. Thirty five of his companies have been acquired and 8 have gone the IPO route. Some of those companies include; Goto.com, Overture, CitySearch, NetZero, Tickets.com, CarsDirect.com, Shopping.com, eToys, Compete, Picasa (acquired by Google), InsiderPages, WeddingChannel.com, eSolar, Duron Energy, dotTV, Desktop Factory, Evolution Robotics, and UberMedia.
Bill started IdeaLabs in 1996, long before the idea of startup incubators was popular. You have to know Bill to understand why IdeaLabs was necessary. Bill has so many ideas, in so many different market segments, he couldn't possibly do them all himself. So, he started a lab, hired all the support people necessary to build companies, and hired entrepreneurs to build out his ideas.
Bill has started 75 companies, and wants to start more. The limiting factor? Not money. The limiting factor is finding entrepreneurs who want to join the team and build companies.
Check out this interview with Bill Gross on my recent trip to IdeaLabs.
IdeaLabs is located in Pasadena, California in a 45,000 s.f. building. There are 12 companies in the building now, and 25 companies in the IdeaLab portfolio. They include compaines in software, hardware, energy, advertising, ecommerce, robotics, and more.
IdeaLab Infrastructure - Everything you need to start and build a company; Engineering, Designers, HR, Recruiters, Finance, Legal, PR, office admin, photo/video services, etc. If more than one company needs it...they buy it or staff it. Everything is done in house. They even have a machine shop to create custom hardware parts.
IdeaLab Model - Start with an idea that is vetted by Bill Gross and his team of company builders. Prototype and test the idea using IdeaLab staff engineers. Conduct user tests. If everything looks good fund the idea with up to $250K. Assign a CEO from the lab, or recruit one from outside. Hire the founding team to build the MVP and get a beta version to market. At this point IdeaLabs may bring in VC investors, or they may decide to fund it themselves.
IdeaLab synergy - At any given time there are 10 to 15 companies incubating at IdeaLabs. They range in size from 5 people to 50 people. When any company reaches 100 people they need to move out on their own. There are no competing companies in the portfolio so founders easily share information, advice, introductions, and help out on short term needs. Like other incubators, they bring in industry experts and successful founders for talks.
Want to help start a company? - You could come up with an idea yourself, recruit a team, pay for it out of your own pocket, build an MVP prototype, and then try to raise money from investors. It is a tough process, even for those that have done it before. Or, you could join Bill Gross at IdeaLabs as a founder and help build a new company. The financial rewards are significant, and the risks are much lower. Not for everyone, but a great opportunity for the right person. Contact Bill Gross at IdeaLabs to find out more.
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