Eric Lefkofsky: The Entrepreneur with Heart

Eric Paul Lefkofsky is an American entrepreneur who is of Jewish descent and was born (in 1969) and raised in Southfield, Michigan to a teacher mother and engineer father. After he graduated from high school in 1987, he attended both the University of Michigan and, later, University of Michigan Law School where he received his Juris Doctor. In college, Eric Lefkofsky and friend, Brad Keywell, purchased a clothing company in Madison, Wisconsin with money borrowed from relatives. He and Keywell started an internet company by the name of Starbelly in 1999, which was successful and sold to Halo Industries just a year later.

Providing print procurement services for small to mid-size companies, Innerworkings is a company that Lefkofsky founded after the sale of Starbelly. Due to the success of Innerworkings, Lefkofsky was able to indulge his longtime passion for teaching which he may have gotten from his mother, a school teacher in the Michigan area. He began his teaching career in Chicago at DePaul University’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business and at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He currently is an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Lefkofsky and his wife, Elizabeth, formed the Lefkofsky Family Foundation in 2006, which focuses on children and can boast of helping over 50 organizations so far. The foundation has four primary foci of assistance: education, human rights, medical and arts & culture. Among the many of the organizations assisted by this foundation are Planned Parenthood, The Success Project, Johns Hopkins Medicine, and The Aspen Institute.

In 2007, Lefkofsky and Keywell paired up again to found MediaBank, a technology company that provides buyers of advertising with buying, planning, and accounting and analysis software. Since then he has founded and helped Groupon, Uptake, Mediaocean and just last year, Tempus. Tempus is a health-tech company that assists physicians in providing personalized care for cancer patients by offering genome sequencing services, and by analyzing molecular data so physicians can make real-time decisions that are driven by scientific data.

Lefkofsky loves his adopted city of Chicago and plans to continue to give back to the community that has been so good to him.

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