In 2013 Eric and Liz Lefkofsky, the Chicago-based husband and wife philanthropic team
pledged to give away half of their fortune. Some might take one look at this mild-mannered wiry man with salt and pepper hair and question the validity of the offer. Don’t get it twisted, he can back it up, and if you live in Chicago you could very well receive it. Eric Lefkofsky is a man of immense wealth. Forbes has estimated his worth at $750 million. That fact alone catches the attention of everyone when his name or foundation is mentioned. Eric Lefkofsky and his wife take seriously the duty of giving back to the community. He is one of the world’s wealthiest entrepreneurs, and he and his wife are dedicated to civic and humanitarian causes especially when they involve their hometown of Chicago.
Born in Detriot, Michigan in 1969, Lefkofsky is the son of an engineer and school teacher. He graduated with honors from the University of Michigan, and he received his Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School. Lefkofsky began his career very humbly selling carpet. After law school, he and a friend borrowed enough money from relatives to buy a clothing company. From there his career took a meteoric climb that has ultimately led him to successfully found over seven entrepreneurial ventures. StarBelly, one of his first ventures, made tools for building websites. He sold his interest in that company in 2000 for $240 million. Two other ventures, Inner Workings and Echo Global Logistics have gone public. Inner Workings provides printing capabilities over the web, while Echo Global Logistics is a transportation and logistics outsourcing business.
Eric Lefkofsky believes in the power technology and the internet to update an industry and keep it on the cutting edge. His book Accelerated Disruption talks about utilizing this power. “Disruptive businesses are born everyday,” he says in the book. What is a disruptive business? One that has a great idea that offers better choices, better prices, more convenience, and could possibly remake an industry. The business, however, fails, because the owner didn’t factor into his plan how technology’s fast pace can create a rival over night. The book essentially is about developing your business while keeping an eye on the fast pace of technological advances.
Lefkofsky’s objective is to take and use technology in any concern that affects mankind. That concept is most interestingly applied to his work with Tempus. Tempus is a company that has built operating systems used to fight cancer. The goal is to use data and machines as learning tools that will harness and analyze analytical and therapeutic data so that physicians will be empowered and able to make real time decisions about patient care.
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