Eric Lefkofsky is a Chicago-based entrepreneur who is known for companies such as Groupon, Echo Global Logistics, InnerWorkings, Lightbank, Uptake Technologies, and Mediaocean. His latest venture is Tempus, which he founded in 2015, and the company has already earned a spot among Chicago’s top ten health techs. As of this week, Tempus can add another title to its repertoire. With the latest fundraising round having increased its value to an approximate $1.1 billion, the company has obtained “unicorn” status. Only few startups in Chicago can say that they have this title.
According to Chiciago Tribune, contributors of the latest funding round include firms such as New Enterprise Associates and Revolution Growth, who have invested in Tempus before. New investors are Kinship Trust Co. and funds advised by T. Rowe Price Associates. The new funds will be put toward further growth and scale of the company’s clinical and molecular analytic platform. With the last funding amount, the company has raised a total of $210 million to date.
“Tempus was born out of frustration with a health care system that too often let powerful data and real world evidence go to waste,” said Eric Lefkofsky, founder and CEO at Tempus. “Given the breadth and scale of our current data set, we’re in a unique positon to help usher in an era of precision medicine to support patients battling disease.”
Tempus is expanding rapidly – it is adding about 30 employees to its team of 400, and this trend is expected to continue as the firm also uses funding to expand its reach.
With Tempus, Lefkofsky is taking on cancer by means of gathering all of the patients’ data, both clinical and molecular, combining the two, and essentially creating a repository of all of the cancer patients’ data in structured form. In some cases, data can be as simple as digitizing an originally handwritten doctor’s note so that it is in the database, searchable by all other physicians treating other cancer patients. Structured data is achieved via its interactive and analytical machine learning platform.
Tempus generates molecular data by sequencing cancer patients’ DNA and RNA as means to uncover more personalized treatment options and by generating actionable insights for more impactful outcomes. The company’s goal is for each patient to benefit from the treatment of others who came before by providing physicians with tools that learn as Tempus gathers more data. This information is also beneficial for drug companies that pay for access to such data to improve drug development.
According to Lefkofsky, the company collaborates with both individuals and organizations in all sectors of the health care system. This includes doctors as well as drug companies, who are searching for a way to use big data to treat patients more effectively. Tempus has partnered with about 50 research hospitals including Northwestern, University of Chicago, Rush University as well as the Mayo Clinic, the University of Michigan, the Cleveland Clinic, Duke University School of Medicine, the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center and Knight Cancer Institute at the OHSU. The company also collaborates with nearly all of the National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers. Those institutions’ oncologists send their patients to Tempus for genomic sequencing.
“I think the traction we have had with everybody in the industry has been kind of amazing,” Lefkofsky said. “We’re in the midst of one of the most significant paradigm shifts of our time.”
About Eric Lefkofsky
Lefkofsky is the founder of Groupon, a global e-commerce marketplace platform, Echo Global Logistics, a technology-enabled transportation and logistics outsourcing firm, InnerWorkings, a global provider of managed print and promotional solutions, Lightbank, a venture fund focusing on disruptive technologies, Uptake Technologies, an analytics platform and Mediaocean, a media procurement technologies provider. The Chicago-based serial entrepreneur founded each business model based on the focus on using scale and organization in addressing problems that have been traditionally solved on an ad hoc basis. Lefkofsky authored Accelerated Disruption: Understanding the True Speed of Innovation. He has also held teaching positions at the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University as well as at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He is currently adjunct professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.
Lefkofsky is also a philanthropist. Together with his wife, he founded the Lefkofsky Family Foundation in 2006. Its primary aim is the advancement of high-impact initiatives in education, fundamental human rights, medicine, art and culture that enhance lives in the communities that are served. The two are also members of The Giving Pledge, where membership is a commitment to contribute nearly half one’s wealth to philanthropic causes. Lefkofsky is on the board of trustees of the Lurie’s Children’s Hospital of Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Science and Industry and World Business Chicago. He is also the Chairman of the Chicago-based Board of Trustees of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company.
Tempus’ aim is to use big data analytics in order to facilitate cancer treatment by taking advantage of the recent human genome sequencing, science and technology advances. For the first time in the history of cancer care, Tempus enables data to permeate cancer therapy and thereby unlocks the vast amounts of information from a large medical system. Tempus has the capacity to extract patient information out of the disorganized and disconnected records and structure, cleanse and annotated the clinical data for easier access and comprehension. Tempus’ service repertoire also encompasses complete DNA and RNA sequencing at its CAP/CLIA-certified laboratory facilities that have a yearly data processing capacity for 50,000 patients.
For more information on Tempus, please visit tempus.com, Facebook: @TempusLabs and Twitter: @TempusLabs. For more information on Eric Lefkofsky, please visit lefkofsky.com, LinkedIn: ericlefkofsky, Twitter: @lefkofsky or Facebook: @eplefkofsky.