Eric Lefkofsky is an American entrepreneur who grew up in Michigan with his parents, a structural engineer and a school teacher. He graduated in 1987 from Southfield-Lathrup High School and went on to the University of Michigan. He received his undergraduate degree, then his Juris Doctor in 1993.
While he was still in college, he began selling carpet. Soon after graduation, he and Brad Keywell would start a successful partnership by buying an apparel company with borrowed money. After moving on from Brandon Apparel, the duo founded Starbelly in 1999. Starbelly was an early internet company specializing in promotion products that experience a quick success. The company was sold to Halo Industries in 2000, leaving Keywell and Lefkofsky to move on to other endeavors.
In 2001, Lefkofsky co-founded a print procurement services company, InnerWorkings. Year after year, the company grew and in 2006, InnerWorkings achieved a successful initial public offering. In 2005, the duo went on to create a freight logistics company, Echo Global Logistics. This company quickly attracted financing from one of the largest investors in the country, New Enterprise Associates. New Enterprise Associates also became an investor in the pair’s new company MediaBank, founded in 2006. MediaBank, a media-buying technology company, bought Datatech in 2007 and merged with Donovan Data Systems to create Mediaocean in 2012.
Lefkofsky co-founded and personally funded a new venture in 2007. He backed a new company, ThePoint.com, an online collective action website. In 2008, the company changed its name to Groupon.com. In just three short years, the company would become the fastest growing company in history, according to Forbes.
In 2010, Keywell joined Lefkofsky again to create Lightbank, a Chicago-based venture firm. Lefkofsky spent some time at Groupon as its CEO before he moved on to co-found Uptake, LLC in 2014, an analytics company. In 2016, he founded Tempus. Tempus is a successful technology company that has given physicians the ability to give cancer patients personalized care.
Eric Lefkofsky is also very involved in the community. He founded a charitable trust alongside his wife in 2006, the Lefkofsky Foundation. Its purpose is to support scientific, educational, and charitable organizations from all over the world. To date, the foundation has helped fund more than 50 charitable organizations. Lefkofsky and his wife also joined The Giving Pledge in 2013. Lefkofsky is also on the board of directors at organizations like The Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Science and Industry, and the Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago.