Technology continues to be the force that shapes the world today. At the center are the tech entrepreneurs whose innovations impact the economy and job creation, health. Education, and society in general. Some of these tech entrepreneurs, such as Eric Lefkofsky (www.lefkofsky.com/), have taken involvement to the next level by directly investing in their communities and creating start-ups to find solutions to recurring social and health issues.
Lefkofsky recently co-founded Tempus, a biotechnology start-up. This recent undertaking reflects a philanthropic advocacy combined with his tech background. Lefkofsky and his family has been known to contribute millions of dollars for cancer research.
Since starting Tempus, Eric Lefkofsky and his team has been involved in cancer research by building an operating system to battle the disease. Tempus has been gathering data on cancer genomes and tracking driver genes that can cause the disease. Information culled from the research will be used to develop personalized care and treatment for patients.
His social media presence shares insights on Tempus’ work and how important this current pursuit is in revolutionizing care for cancer patients and finding innovations in treatment. In a recent Tweet he said, “We have invested hundreds of billions of dollars to better understand cancer drivers but have only mapped a small percentage of the genome.”
He has been involved in other philanthropic endeavors though the Lefkofsky Family Foundation, whose purpose is “to advance high-impact programs, initiatives and research that enhance the quality of human life in the communities that they serve.” Lefkofsky recently donated $1 million to the new Ability Institute of RIC in Chicago. The foundation also funded the Academy for Urban School Leadership’s “Success Project.” The nonprofit organization works with lower performing schools in the Chicago area, seeking to assist middle-school students to successfully transition to high school.
Aside from contributing to the nonprofit community in Chicago, Lefkofsky and his wife Liz has signed the Giving Pledge, a campaign encouraging the world’s wealthiest to commit a huge chunk of their assets to support philanthropic causes and address urgent global issues.
Leflkofsky authored “Accelerated Disruption: Understanding the True Speed of Innovation” (Easton Studio Press, 2007). As described in his book, the concept of accelerated disruption is about “business development moving at the speed of the next technological advancement,” with the basic premise that “those businesses that can understand and control the forces of technology will thrive in the coming years. Those that cannot will find themselves displaced.”
Leflkofsky himself is no stranger to innovation and technology. He has made an impact in the tech industry with an impressive portfolio that includes founding Groupon, one of the most successful e-commerce start-ups, and Lightbank, a venture capital group investing in disruptive technology. He also co-founded Uptake Technologies, Mediaocean, Echo Global Logistics, and InnerWorkings.
Lefkofsky attended the University of Michigan Law School, earning a juris doctor in the 90s. He also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business where he lectured on “Building Internet Start-Ups” and mentored aspiring tech entrepreneurs. He also served as a guest professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management where he talked about “Technology-Enabled Innovation.”