Got start-ups? If so, Idealab is the place to go for turning start-up dreams into profitable reality. Idealab in Pasadena, California promises to bring the full force of resources, from office space and services, technology, design, marketing, legal and every possible need to transform a budding business into something Google might want to buy. But even if Google isn’t attracted, Idealab’s help will likely reap other attractive rewards anyway. Look inside Idealab and even at this very moment, several companies are incubating. But we have no idea what they are – yet.
Idealab has been around since 1996 and is commonly credited as the originator of search engine marketing through Goto.com, which eventually became Overture, which was then acquired by Yahoo. In 2008, advertisers spent more than $13 billion on search engine marketing. Another idea from the lab is CitySearch which built online community guides from local data in newspapers and business directories. CitySearch merged with Ticketmaster. Other known ideas from them include cooking.com, eToys which was acquired by KB Toys, and Pet.net which was folded into the Petsmart empire. Then there’s Picasa – and the list goes on for a total of 75 companies.
Founder William T Gross has always been big on developing ideas and then selling them. For the future, his eyes are set on a world powered by sunlight. While lots of ideas revolve around solar power, Bill Gross’s eSolar is all about mirrors. Hundreds of thousands of small mirrors, the size of television screens, direct the sunlight toward a steam turbine which then generates power. The mirrors are controlled by eSolar’s proprietary software that controls each individual mirror, changing the angles to catch the moving sunlight throughout the day. Mirrors are cheaper than traditional solar panels. It won’t work in cloudy Seattle or London but in California or Saudi Arabia – endless supply.
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