Studies estimate that around 40 percent of a U.S. adults will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. And that number is expected to go up in the next few years. It has been recognized that electronic health records are key to helping make sense of this growing battlefield. Very unfortunately, however, up to this point, the medical field has not taken advantage of what is out there. Enter Eric Lefkofsky. It was at this point that he became alerted to this huge gap in data collection efficiency. He was shocked that despite the growing and increasingly confusing mass of cancer patients, there had yet been no streamlined way to electronically collect and store data.
So he started Tempus. Tempus creates technology for cancer doctors that allows them to easily analyze any patient’s clinical and molecular data. Although they had the had the tools and equipment necessary for such an endeavor, they weren’t sure how to store the written data collected by an individual doctor. They overcame this obstacle by developing software for their mechanism that installed natural language processing and optical character recognition. This made the gathering of human genome sequencing so much less expensive than it was originally. It used to be so expensive (around $100 million) that it was rarely done. It can now be done for about $5,000, with that number expected to drop even further in the next few years.
Lefkofsky did not begin his career in technology development. His first job was selling carpet while attending the University of Michigan where he studied. After graduation in 1993, he and a friend bought a clothing store. In 1999, the two ventured into technology, starting an internet company named Starbelly which did so well that they were able to sell to Halo it for a large profit in 2000. In 2001, Leftkofsky started the print procurement company, InnerWorkings. In 2005 he co-founded the freight logistics company, Echo Global Logistics. All of this was only the beginning. He has since founded many more successful companies, but Tempus, which he founded in 2016, is his most personal endeavor.