Bill Gross, Not Just Disrupting Solar, Twitter, Too


Many of us covering greentech companies see Bill Gross, founder and CEO of incubator Idealab, as the quintessential entrepreneur and investor who transitioned from focusing on the dotcom to green technology — we even once put him on our list of 25 Who Ditched Infotech for Cleantech. But this week Gross is putting his web hat back on and has launched his start-up TweetUp, a marketplace for Twitter, reports Liz over on GigaOM.

Liz describes TweetUp as aiming to “identify relevant tweets and tweeters based on popularity, engagement, interest and also paid bidding on keywords.” She says TweetUp resembles Gross’ original dot-com insight — which became Overture, aka search advertising, aka Google’s core business — and TweetUp is similarly based around a contextual advertising system for Twitter.

Who knows if TweetUp will go on to be like (a smashing success) or one of Idealab’s other less than stellar ideas. Gross has acknowledged before that failure is OK in his serial entrepreneur world as “long as it’s fast, inexpensive and you learn from it.” In that respect the web is a much easier ecosystem to fail in compared to greentech: Failure is often far cheaper and much quicker.

Gross will be speaking at our Green:Net event on April 29 in San Francisco, which will focus on how computing, software and the web can help fight climate change and create new business opportunities. Gross will discuss how algorithms and computing helped Idealab’s solar company eSolar lower the cost of utility-scale solar thermal technology. Other speakers at Green:Net include California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown, investors Steve Jurvetson and Vinod Khosla, California Public Utilities Commissioner Dian Grueneich, and execs from Google (s GOOG), Microsoft (s MSFT), Silver Spring Networks, IBM (s IBM), Ford (s F), Nissan (s NSANY), General Motors (s GM), and many more.

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