Internet entrepreneur Eric Lefkofsky has an estimated net worth of nearly three billion dollars. In his career, he has been the driving force behind a number of companies that have the similarity of using big data to make big money. He is best known for leading the highly successful venture Groupon.
Where Eric Lefkofsky is directing his passion these days is his new medical startup company Tempus, which is using artificial intelligence in no less of a pursuit than fighting cancer. As with his other companies, Tempus uses enormous amounts of data, in this case all related to cancer. Doctors send in information on specific tumors, and the team at Tempus then crunches the database searching for commonalities and patterns.
The emerging field is known as precision medicine, and while Tempus is currently focusing on cancer, the techniques the startup is pioneering may one day be used to fight other diseases such as diabetes and depression as well. Currently, it costs Tempus between $1,000 and $5,000 to do a single analysis, but this cost is dropping. There is intense interest in what Tempus is doing from many places, including the pharmaceutical industry.
A born entrepreneur
Eric Lefkofsky has been doing business his own way for a long time. As far back as his college days at the University of Michigan, he was selling carpets to make money. He founded his first company, InnerWorkings, a marketing venture, in 2001 and went on to run startups involved in logistics and advertising until finally hit the mother lode with Groupon.
A legacy project
Eric Lefkofsky hopes that Tempus will be his legacy project. When his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, Lefkosky began researching the disease and was surprised to discover that there was not the massive amounts of data he anticipated and that what data did exist wasn’t being analyzed with the best tools. Motivated, he founded Tempus to fill the gap. The company is attracting more and more researchers who want to share their data, and a big breakthrough is expected soon.