Eric Lefkofsky

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Eric Lefkofsky
Eric Lefkofsky.jpg
BornSeptember 2, 1969 (1969-09-02) (age 52)
Alma materUniversity of Michigan (JD) (BA)
OccupationFounder and CEO,
Known forCo-founder, Groupon[1]
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Kramer

Eric Paul Lefkofsky (born September 2, 1969)[2] is an American billionaire businessman. He is the founder of ,[3] and the co-founder of Groupon,[4] (ECHO), (INWK), and Mediaocean.[5] He is an early-investor in Uptake,[citation needed]and the managing director of Chicago-based venture capital firm, Lightbank.[citation needed] As of October 2021, his net worth was estimated at US$4.1 billion.[6]


Lefkofsky grew up in a Jewish family[7] In Southfield, Michigan, the son of Bill, a structural engineer, and Sandy, a school teacher. He attended as a youth and later worked as a staff member.[8] After graduating from Southfield-Lathrup High School in 1987,[9] he attended the University of Michigan and graduated with honors in 1991.[10] He continued on at University of Michigan Law School to receive his Juris Doctor in 1993.[11][8][10]

Entrepreneurial ventures[]

After law school, in 1993, he and a college friend, Brad Keywell, borrowed money from relatives to buy Brandon Apparel, a clothing company in Madison, Wisconsin.[citation needed]. In 1999, they created an Internet company, Starbelly, that specialized in promotional products[citation needed]. The firm was sold to Halo Industries in January 2000, with Lefkofsky joining Halo as chief operating officer. A little more than a year later, the company went bankrupt, and the firms faced multiple lawsuits from shareholders, all of which were resolved by 2004.[citation needed]

Lefkofsky then co-founded InnerWorkings in fall 2001, a firm providing print procurement services for mid-sized companies; In August 2006, it had an initial public offering.[12] Lefkofsky was on its board of directors until October 2012.

In February 2005, Lefkofsky and Keywell created a freight logistics company, . It attracted financing from New Enterprise Associates, and went public on the NASDAQ under the symbol 'ECHO' in June 2006.[13] In June 2006, Lefkofsky and Keywell founded MediaBank, a company providing technology for advertising buyers. In June 2007, the firm acquired Datatech,[14] a media planning and procurement platform. In July 2007, New Enterprise Associates invested in MediaBank.[15] In 2012, a merger between MediaBank and Donovan Data Systems created Mediaocean, in a deal estimated at $1.5 billion.[16]

In January 2007, Lefkofsky co-founded and provided $1 million in funding for, an collective action website started by Andrew Mason, and New Enterprise Associates led an early stage investment round.[17] In late 2008, the site changed its name to In October 2009, Groupon raised $30 million from Accel Partners and New Enterprise Associates.[18] In April 2010, Digital Sky Technology and Battery Ventures invested $135 million in Groupon at a valuation of $1.35 billion. In August 2010, Forbes reported that it was the fastest growing company in history.[19]

In December 2010, Google offered a reported $6 billion for Groupon. The offer was turned down, possibly due to anti-trust and regulatory scrutiny the deal might face.[20] In October 2011, Groupon [21] raised $950 million in private funding and then paid $810 million to employees and investors. Lefkofsky and family were paid $398 million.[22] In August 2013, Lefkofsky became CEO of Groupon;[23] in November 2016 he stepped down as CEO, resuming his role as Chairman.[24]

In July 2014, Lefkofsky was an early investor in Uptake, LLC, an analytics company[citation needed]. In 2016, Lefkofsky founded Tempus,[25] a technology company that enables physicians to deliver personalized cancer care, and serves as its CEO.


In 2006, Lefkofsky and his wife, Liz, formed a private charitable trust, The Lefkofsky Family Foundation. Its purpose is to advance high-impact initiatives that enhance the quality of human life in the communities they serve. To achieve this mission, the Foundation strives to:

- ensure access to quality education with a deep focus on the middle grades,

- improve fundamental human rights for women, girls and communities impacted by violence,

- propel innovative medical research, and

- expand cultural initiatives.

The foundation has helped fund more than 50 organizations to date.[26]

In 2013, Lefkofsky and his wife joined The Giving Pledge.[27][28]

Community interests[]

Lefkofsky is on the board of directors at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, the board of directors of The Art Institute of Chicago, the board of directors of The Museum of Science and Industry, and a Trustee of Steppenwolf Theatre Company[29] He is a board member of World Business Chicago, and serves as co-chairman of its Technology Council.[30]

In May 2008, Lefkofsky joined the committee to bring the 2016 Summer Olympics to Chicago, Chicago 2016.

He is a noted collector of contemporary art, with a collection that includes works by Carrie Mae Weems and Christopher Wool.[31]

Teaching and writing[]

Lefkofsky taught Applied Technology at DePaul University's Kellstadt Graduate School of Business and at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University where he taught a course in disruptive business models. He is now[when?] an Adjunct Professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, teaching a course on entrepreneurship and building technology-based businesses.[32]

In November 2007, published Lefkofsky's Accelerated Disruption, a book about how technology affects business.

Personal life[]

In 1997, Lefkofsky married Elizabeth (née Kramer); they have three children.[33][34][35]


  1. ^ LaTrace, AJ. "Groupon CEO Eric Lefkofsky the Man Behind $19.5M Home Sale". Curbed Chicago.
  2. ^ "Wild and Crazy Self Made Billionaires with Infographic of Entrepreneurs". August 26, 2013. Archived from the original on August 27, 2013.
  3. ^ "Lefkofsky Takes On The Big C". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  4. ^ Geron, Tomio (August 7, 2013). "Groupon Names Eric Lefkofsky CEO, Shares Rise On Q2 Earnings". Forbes.
  5. ^ "Groupon Founders, NEA Teamed Up Before". The Wall Street Journal. November 4, 2011.
  6. ^ "Forbes profile: Eric Lefkofsky". Forbes. October 14, 2021.
  7. ^ Berman, Daphna (May–June 2011). "What Does It Mean To Be Jewish Today? What Do Jews Bring To The World?". Moment. I think of myself first as an American and then as a Jew. That said, I am absolutely connected to Judaism. Being Jewish is simply woven into my fabric, and it's hard to separate it
  8. ^ a b "Groupon Co-Founder, Southfield Native, To Speak At Camp Fundraiser". CBS Detroit. April 11, 2011.
  9. ^ "Fond Farewell! Former students remember Southfield-Lathrup High". Detroit Jewish News. June 19, 2016. Other notable Southfield-Lathrup graduates include Quicken Loans and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky and Sheldon Yellen, CEO of Birmingham-based Belfor Holdings Inc.
  10. ^ a b Bermant, Yoel (January 15, 2014). "Eric Lefkofsky's Groupon Pays Out $43 Million To Add Fashion To His Collection Through Ideeli". Jewish Business News.
  11. ^ "Executive Profile Eric P. Lefkofsky J.D." Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved September 24, 2012.
  12. ^ "IPO Home". IPO Home. Archived from the original on May 21, 2008. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  13. ^ "Echo Global Logistics, Inc". Retrieved November 30, 2009.
  14. ^ "RedOrbit". RedOrbit. June 6, 2007. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  15. ^ "Business Wire". Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  16. ^ "Regulators Approve Donovan, MediaBank Merger Into Mediaocean". February 29, 2012.
  17. ^ Lefkofsky, E: "Accelerated Disruption", page 15, Easton Studio Press, 2007
  18. ^ "Yahoo Finance". Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  19. ^ Steiner, Christopher (August 30, 2010). "Forbes". Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  20. ^ Carlson, Nicholas (December 8, 2010). "Why Groupon Said No To Google's $6 Billion". Business Insider. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  21. ^ "The Missed Red Flags on Groupon". The New York Times. October 17, 2011.
  22. ^ Conlin, Michelle; Chapman, Michelle (October 21, 2011). "Groupon's fall to earth swifter than its fast rise". Associated Press. Retrieved October 26, 2011. Additionally, there are questions about how the company has used investor money. Traditionally, investor money is used to grow a business before it goes public. But according to Groupon's SEC filings, $810 million of the $946 million it raised went to early investors and insiders. That includes $398 million to Groupon's largest investor, shareholder and executive chairman, Eric Lefkofsky.
  23. ^ "Groupon stock surges 20% after Eric Lefkofsky becomes CEO". August 7, 2013.
  24. ^ Goldsborough, Bob. "Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky finds buyer for sprawling Glencoe mansion". Chicago Tribune.
  25. ^ "Can Eric Lefkofsky save your life?". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  26. ^ "Lefkofsky Foundation". Lefkofsky Foundation. September 3, 1974. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  27. ^ Bellware, Kim (December 10, 2013). "Groupon CEO Eric Lefkofsky And Wife Are Latest Billionaires To Join The Giving Pledge". Huffington Post.
  28. ^ "Eric and Liz Lefkofsky pledge half their wealth to charity: They sign the Buffett-Gates Giving Pledge". Chicago Tribune. December 10, 2013.
  29. ^ Lefkofsky, E: "Accelerated Disruption", dust jacket, Easton Studio Press, 2007
  30. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 31, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  31. ^ arielhauter (September 10, 2017). "Liz and Eric Lefkofsky". Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  32. ^ "About | Eric Lefkofsky - Entrepreneur & Professor". Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  33. ^ "Mary Kramer obit". Chicago Tribune. March 7, 2010.
  34. ^ "A Drink With Eric Lefkofsky, CEO of Groupon, Founder of Lightbank". A Drink With. September 18, 2013.
  35. ^ Goldsborough, Bob. "Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky finds buyer for sprawling Glencoe mansion". Retrieved March 27, 2018.

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