Groupon Co-Founder Simplifies the EquationBy: Shawn Hess - July 2, 2012
Many times, we see successful people get bogged down by day to day operations losing sight at what they are really good at and passionate about doing. Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky is one of those people.
As an entrepreneur, Lefkofsky has built several startups from the ground up, and has always had a talent for cementing the foundations of those businesses.
Today, he announced he is stepping down from the management side of Groupon (of which he actually holds no official position) and allowing those in charge, like CEO Andrew Mason, to do what they do best and run the company.
Formally, Lefkofsky is the Chairman of the Board at Groupon (and he will remain in this position), but as a co-founder, and one of the most active investors in the company, he has been consumed with helping out in any way he can. Currently, he feels compelled to put his talents and energies into his next project called, Lightbank.
Groupon co-founder and chairman of the board, Eric Lefkofsky, comments on refocusing his efforts after the success of the company:
My role has always been more complicated at Groupon, as I am a co-founder as well as its first investor. Andrew has been the founder and CEO since Day One, which has permitted me to act more like a super-active investor and director than a member of the management team. So unlike our other companies, there was no CEO to recruit, so I could eventually move on as Andrew was always in that role.
When Groupon was a “young” company, Andrew and I wore a lot of different hats. Every time we hired someone new, we gave up a hat. Given the breadth of the team today, everyone’s hat is planted firmly on the right head, which has allowed me to focus on doing what I do best.
I look forward to continuing to work with Andrew in my ongoing role as Chairman of the Board, but in the meantime, I’ve immersed myself in Lightbank and am focused on growing the company and working with Brad and the rest of the Lightbank team to try to define what it should be as it matures.
Lightbank should be the Berkshire Hathaway of technology companies. I like the way Wikipedia defines it: “Berkshire Hathaway is an American multinational conglomerate holding company that oversees and manages a number of companies. The company averaged an annual growth in book value of 20.3% for its shareholders over the past 44 years.”
Lefkofsky is one of the richest people in the World with a net worth of about $1.5 billion. Aside from being an early Groupon investor and co-founder, he is the author of Accelerated Disruption and an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Lefkofsky’s newest project, Lightbank, is a technology investment firm he runs with partner, Brad Keywell. So far they have committed $100 million and funded $60 million with the business. There are about 20 companies they have either funded or started.