While Eric Lefkofsky graduated from the University of Michigan with a law degree, his real talent is being an entrepreneur who thrives on risk. In fact, Lefkofsky’s latest venture is a genomics company, even though he has no medical background.As the co-founder and CEO at Tempus, Lefkofsky oversees the compilation of a colossal database that physicians can use to personalize cancer therapies. Actually, Tempus is based on utilizing big data, as were Lefkofsky’s previous ventures, therefore it isn’t so unusual that he would compile gene-sequencing test results. With numerous Ph.D.s working at Tempus, Lefkofsky’s role is to bring the data together and make it simple for physicians to utilize. Tempus does this by partnering with hospitals that contribute data in return for software, which doctors will use to compare their cancer patient’s genetic profile to other profiles already in the database, in order to determine which treatments have been successful in similar cases.
In addition to co-founding Tempus, Lefkofsky also co-founded Lightbank, a venture fund that invests in diverse companies, especially startups employing disruptive technologies. Lefkofsky wrote a book titled Accelerated Disruption: Understanding the True Speed of Innovation, where he explains why businesses utilizing disruptive tactics often succeed where others fail. In his book, Lefkofsky warns potential entrepreneurs not to hesitate, because with technology, a competitor could easily overtake them and get their idea to market first.
A Chicago resident, Lefkofsky is active in his community; he sits on the boards of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Children’s Memorial Hospital and The Museum of Science and Industry. Adjunct Professor Eric Lefkofsky also teaches a course on entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. If anyone knows about entrepreneurship, it is Lefkofsky, who co-founded InnerWorkings, Echo Global Logistics, MediaBank and ThePoint.com. In his spare time, Lefkofsky oversees the Lefkofsky Foundation, which supports charitable causes around the world.