September 2, 1969 (age 46)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Education||University of Michigan|
|Occupation||Blue Media LLC, President
|Net worth||US$1.7 billion (October 2015)|
Eric Paul Lefkofsky (born September 2, 1969) is an entrepreneur. He is co-founder and former CEO of Groupon, co-founder of Echo Global Logistics (ECHO), InnerWorkings (INWK), Mediaocean, and Uptake. He is also a co-founder of Chicago-based venture capital firm, Lightbank.
Early life and education
Lefkofsky grew up in Southfield, Michigan, the son of Bill, a structural engineer, and Sandy, a school teacher. He has a brother, Steven, an attorney practicing in Michigan, and a sister, Jodi, also a former school teacher. After graduating from Southfield-Lathrup High School in 1987, Lefkofsky attended the University of Michigan and graduated with honors in 1991. He continued on at University of Michigan Law School to receive his Juris Doctor in 1993.
Lefkofsky began his career selling carpet at the University of Michigan. After law school, in 1993, he and a college friend, Brad Keywell, borrowed money from relatives to buy an apparel company in Madison, Wisconsin named Brandon Apparel.
In 1999, Lefkofsky and Keywell created an early Internet company called Starbelly that specialized in promotional products. Starbelly experienced rapid "pre-bubble" Internet growth and was sold to Halo Industries in January 2000. Lefkofsky joined Halo to become chief operating officer. A little more than a year later, the company went bankrupt. Halo and Starbelly faced multiple lawsuits from shareholders, all of which were resolved by 2004.
After Starbelly, Lefkofsky, co-founded InnerWorkings in the fall of 2001. InnerWorkings provided print procurement services for mid-sized companies and achieved solid year-over-year growth. In August 2006, InnerWorkings had a successful initial public offering in the U.S. stock market (Nasdaq: INWK). Lefkofsky was on the board of directors of InnerWorkings until October 2012.
In February 2005, Lefkofsky and Keywell created a freight logistics company called Echo Global Logistics. Echo attracted series D financing from New Enterprise Associates (NEA), one of the largest technology investors in the country, in June 2006. Echo Global Logistics went public on the NASDAQ under the symbol 'ECHO' and is now successfully being traded.
In June 2006, Lefkofsky and Keywell founded MediaBank, a media-buying technology company. MediaBank provides advertising buyers with planning, buying, accounting and analysis software. In June 2007, MediaBank acquired Datatech, one of the leading media planning and procurement platforms in the advertising industry. In July 2007, New Enterprise Associates invested in MediaBank. In February 2012, the US Department of Justice approved a merger between MediaBank and Donovan Data Systems to create a single company, Mediaocean, in a deal estimated at $1.5 billion.
In January 2007, Lefkofsky co-founded and provided $1,000,000 in funding for ThePoint.com, an online collective action website started by Andrew Mason. New Enterprise Associates led an early stage investment round in ThePoint. In late 2008, The Point changed its name to Groupon.com. In October 2009, Groupon raised $30 million from Accel Partners and New Enterprise Associates. 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 Groupon is the fastest growing company in history.
In October 2011, Groupon  raised $950 million in private funding in January and then paid $810 million to employees and investors. Mr. Lefkofsky and family were paid $398 million of these funds.
In August 2013, Lefkofsky became CEO of Groupon.
In July 2014, Lefkofsky co-founded Uptake, LLC, an analytics company.
In November 2015, Lefkofsky stepped down as CEO of Groupon, resuming his role as Chairman.
In 2006, Eric Lefkofsky and his wife, Elizabeth, formed a charitable trust, the Lefkofsky Foundation, for the "purpose of supporting charitable, scientific, and educational organizations and causes around the world". The foundation has a focus on children. The foundation has helped fund more than 50 organizations to date.
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, a Chicago-based performing arts institution. He is a board member of World Business Chicago, and serves as co-chairman of its Technology Council.
In May 2008, Lefkofsky joined the committee to bring the 2016 Summer Olympics to Chicago, Chicago 2016.
Teaching and writing
Since his success at InnerWorkings, Lefkofsky began a teaching career at business schools in the Chicago area. He previously 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. Lefkofsky is currently[when?] an Adjunct Professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, teaching a course on entrepreneurship and building technology-based businesses.
In November, Easton Studio Press published Lefkofsky's Accelerated Disruption, a book about how technology affects business.
- "The World's Billionaires: Eric Lefkofsky". Forbes. October 2015.
- Berman, Daphna (May–June 2011). "What Does It Mean To Be Jewish Today? What Do Jews Bring To The World?". Moment magazine.
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
- "Wild and Crazy Self Made Billionaires with Infographic of Entrepreneurs". umain30.com. August 26, 2013. Archived from the original on August 27, 2013.
- Geron, Tomio (August 7, 2013). "Groupon Names Eric Lefkofsky CEO, Shares Rise On Q2 Earnings". Forbes.
- "Groupon Founders, NEA Teamed Up Before". Wall Street Journal. November 4, 2011.
- "Executive Profile Eric P. Lefkofsky J.D.". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved September 24, 2012.
- "IPO Home". IPO Home. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
- "Echo Global Logistics, Inc.". Retrieved November 30, 2009.
- "RedOrbit". RedOrbit. June 6, 2007. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
- "Business Wire". Findarticles.com. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
- "Regulators Approve Donovan, MediaBank Merger Into Mediaocean". adexchanger.com. February 29, 2012.
- Lefkofsky, E: "Accelerated Disruption", page 15, Easton Studio Press, 2007
- Yahoo Finance
- Steiner, Christopher (August 30, 2010). "Forbes". Forbes. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
- Spirrison, Brad (February 15, 2010). "Dynamic duo plans more startups yearly". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on February 18, 2010.
- Carlson, Nicholas (December 8, 2010). "Why Groupon Said No To Google's $6 Billion". Business Insider. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
- "The Missed Red Flags on Groupon". The New York Times. October 17, 2011.
- 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.
- "Groupon's IPO biggest by U.S. Web company since Google". Reuters. November 4, 2011.
- "Groupon stock surges 20% after Eric Lefkofsky becomes CEO". venturebeat.com. August 7, 2013.
- "Lefkofsky Foundation". Lefkofsky Foundation. September 3, 1974. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
- Bellware, Kim (December 10, 2013). "Groupon CEO Eric Lefkofsky And Wife Are Latest Billionaires To Join The Giving Pledge". Huffington Post.
- "Eric and Liz Lefkofsky pledge half their wealth to charity: They sign the Buffett-Gates Giving Pledge". Chicago Tribune. December 10, 2013.
- Lefkofsky, E: "Accelerated Disruption", dust jacket, Easton Studio Press, 2007
- "About | Eric Lefkofsky - Entrepreneur & Professor". Lefkofsky.com. Retrieved July 24, 2012.