Eric Paul Lefkofsky
(born September 1969) is a U.S.-born entrepreneur. He is co-founder of Lightbank; founder & director of InnerWorkings, Inc., Echo Global Logistics, Inc., Mediaocean and Groupon, Inc. In March 2011, Forbes named him one of 2011's new billionaires.
Early life and education
Lefkofsky grew up in a Jewish family 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 is on the board of directors of InnerWorkings.
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 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 February 2010, Lefkokfsky and Keywell announced a new venture firm called 'lightbank' that plans to develop new companies in the Chicago area.
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.
In April 2011, Groupon considered an IPO in the fall of 2011 at a valuation between $15 and $20 billion.
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 November 2011, Groupon's IPO was the biggest by a US web company since Google, raising $700 million at $20 per share.
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 November, Easton Studio Press published Lefkofsky's Accelerated Disruption, a book about how technology affects business.
Source @ Wikipedia