Startup Culture

Idealab’s Bill Gross Taps the Crowd to Create Companies

Crowdsourcing predates the Internet, but Web platforms like Wikipedia supercharged the concept, giving it global currency and making it an increasingly indispensable business strategy. “Using the intelligence and wisdom and ideas from everybody anywhere on the planet—that’s really exciting to me,” says Bill Gross, founder and CEO of Idealab, a tech incubator that bills itself as a “company factory.” Gross sees crowdsourcing as a driving force in competitive new companies, and a powerful tool for established ones. He points to Amazon as a company that harnesses value from the feedback of its millions of users.

Idealab recently launched IdeaMarket to crowdsource the formation of companies. “We post ideas that need solving and then we look for teams anywhere around the world to take those ideas and turn them into companies,” says Gross. IdeaMarket then invests in those companies and helps them get off the ground. Gross says it’s “exciting to try and help take the entrepreneurial structure, which I think is the best way to motivate people to cause positive change, and give that opportunity to people in parts of the world where they might not have the chance to raise the funding.” He’s not the only one to recognize that the crowd offers wealth as well as wisdom.

This video was produced in partnership with genConnect.

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