Billionaires typically think bigger than the rest of us; maybe that’s why they’re billionaires. Rarely are their thoughts more apparent than in The Giving Pledge, formed in 2010 to fuel philanthropy among the world’s wealthy elite. Some 154 billionaires in 16 countries had joined the organization as of June of 2016, with co-founder Bill Gates expressing surprise at the outpouring of support and another member fueling a dream infinitely larger than dollars and cents.
His name is Eric Lefkofsky, whom you may know as the founder of Groupon, an e-commerce site linking local consumers and merchants through offers on goods and services. His longer-term goals rest with Chicago’s Tempus Health Inc., of which he is chief executive officer.
Tempus’ ideal is to assist physicians in the care of cancer patients by providing real-time technology-driven data on the disease — data resulting from the years-long technological explosion that reveals them. Mathematicians, computational biologists, data analysts and software engineers team with doctors and clinicians in a search for the best possible medical results.
“We now can gather incredibly rich… data,” Leofsky says in a film on the firm, “but how do we analyze it? How do we help physicians while they’re treating a patient that might actually improve outcomes? That’s what Tempus is delivering.”
Tempus is currently focused on the treatment of breast, lung and pancreatic cancers.
Lefkofsky calls his approach to Tempus one of “accelerated disruption,” with technology leading the way in determining the pace of world commerce. Gone, he would say, are the days of the rotely sealed contract inside a smoke-filled board room.
“Disruptive companies,” Lefkofsky writes on the website accelerateddisruption.com, “are born every day. Someone has a great idea that offers a better choice in terms of price, convenience, service or functionality, and for a moment, they hold the keys to the remaking of an entire industry. Businesses that can understand and control the forces of technology will thrive in the coming years.”
The Giving Pledge is arguably delighted with its contributions from The Lefkofsky Family Foundation, which funds several Chicago-area programs in education, medicine, the arts and human rights endeavors. With Tempus, Lefkofsky has a state-of-the-art company designed to enhance and prolong the lives of those programs’ beneficiaries.
Lefkofsky, 47, is a Detroit native and a 1993 University of Michigan law school graduate.