Bill Gross (fl. 2000s) is an American business manager. Born in 1958, he grew up in an orphanage in Encino California. He founded GNP Loudspeakers (now GNP Audio Video), an audio equipment manufacturer; GNP Development Inc., acquired by Lotus Software; and Knowledge Adventure, an educational software company, later acquired by Cendant. Gross graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (1980) from the California Institute of Technology.
He founded the business incubator Idealab in March, 1996, and serves as the company's Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. He is also credited as the creator of the Sponsored Search model of search advertising where advertisers pay when their ad is clicked.
One company founded by Gross, GoTo.com, Inc., was the first company to successfully provide an Internet search engine which relied upon sponsored search results and pay-per-click advertisements. Goto.com was later renamed Overture Services Inc. and was then acquired by Yahoo! to provide their Yahoo! Search Marketing products.
Another Gross company Energy Innovations is working on development of a rooftop concentrated photovoltaic solar collector for flat-roofed commercial buildings. They completed the world's largest corporate solar installation at Google's headquarters in 2006
In November 2001 Gross defaulted on a $50 million personal loan he had taken from the Bank of America to invest in Idealab. In March 2006 the board of directors of Idealab voted to purchase the loan from the bank, protecting Gross from bankruptcy. Gross's efforts to use his majority ownership position in Idealab to bail out his personal finances were the subject of a minority shareholder lawsuit filed in 2002 Court documents filed by the plaintiffs allege various abuses of corporate funds including reimbursing Gross for business use of a Gulfstream personal jet On June 27, 2003, Superior Court Judge Charles W. McCoy, Jr. dismissed all significant claims against Idealab