A Stirring at Idealab

He's an entrepreneur with nine lives. Bill Gross, founder of the Pasadena (Calif.)-based technology firm Idealab, rode the dot-com rocket as high as anyone in the late 1990s. His Internet "incubator" hatched dozens of companies with names such as Tickets.com, WeddingChannel, and CitySearch. But by 2000, the one-time billionaire was scrambling. Idealab laid off workers, closed offices in New York and Silicon Valley, and negotiated settlements with angry shareholders who sued him to get their money back.

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