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Joe Bono

Solar Universe Founder

For Joe Bono, founder of Solar Universe, UCLA has been essential to opening doors and paving the way to a successful and socially-conscious business culture. Bono credits his forward-thinking leadership and strategic style to the strong knowledge foundation and opportunities provided by his alma mater. “UCLA breeds ideas, it teaches you how to learn,” said Bono, who earned his bachelor’s degree in economics. “I became an eternal student while attending college, which has allowed me to work for different companies in various industries as well as the privilege of starting many of my own businesses.” 

"The mentorship, networking, and capital assistance of the UCLA Venture Fund is an ideal way to stimulate innovation with students and young graduates, who can learn so much from the alumni network. I look forward to sharing my experience with others, connecting with fellow alumni, and giving back to an outstanding university."

A university-sponsored summer internship led to his first job in Palo Alto with KPMG Consulting, where he worked from 1996 to 1998 before successfully launching ICSG Consulting in San Francisco, and working with the venture-backed mobile startup, ViaFone, based in Redwood Shores. Bono later became a licensed real estate industry broker and went on to fund hundreds of new home purchases and construction builds from 2003 to 2007. He was also the owner of two Bay Area Quiznos franchises, one in San Francisco and one in Walnut Creek, from October 2002 through August 2004. With a professional track record that spans multiple specialties, Bono brings a diverse background in software, consumer lending, construction, and financial leadership to advancing a game-changing management model for Solar Universe. Since 2008, the company has grown to become one of the largest residential solar installers in the U.S., and was praised by Forbes Magazine as “Silicon Valley meets clean tech, with the consumer in mind.”

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