Serial entrepreneur Eric Lefkofsky is a man who has always stayed ahead of the curve. With his background as a highly successful entrepreneur (he played a significant role in creating several major online companies, including Groupon, Echo (a logistics company) and InnerWorkings (a marketing firm), no one could blame the 47-year-old Lefkofsky for sitting back on his laurels for awhile. Fate intervened in Lefkofsky’s career plan, however, when he went through a personal crisis.
An Illness in the Family
When Lefkofsky’s wife became ill with cancer, he got a fast education in the limitations in the practice of modern medicine. As he and his wife went to meeting after meeting with doctors, he became aware of how much more data medical practitioners should have about their patients. From this need, his new, self-funded company, Tempus, was born.
Tempus now has 150 employees. The company is growing a molecular clinical library of patient data that provides doctors with information on other cancer patients, so they can use the information to help patients currently in need of care. Lefkofsky’s net worth is estimated at $1.7 billion, and he is investing millions of his own funds to help keep the company operating and very independent.
There’s no doubt that starting up another company at this stage in his life is challenging. Eric Lefkofsky admits pressure can be enormous, but in this case, it’s all worthwhile. The personal crisis he and his wife experienced as they searched for information that could help her heal from cancer was so profound, it put everything else in perspective.
In Lefkofsky’s view, if his financial success and business acumen could be put in service of a database that will help other people survive this harrowing illness, there’s no doubt that’s where he should be putting his energy.