Tempus: A Third Wave Health Tech that is Transforming Healthcare via Big Data and Precision

Eric Lefkofsky

According to Steve Case, Eric Lefkofsky’s Tempus is an example of a Third Wave company, an “operating system for cancer” and an innovation that is taking on serious world problems. Case believes that Tempus has the potential to change healthcare fundamentally.


Steve Case is the creator and builder of AOL. He is also the chairman and CEO of Revolution Growth and the New York Times best-selling author of The Third Wave, in which he discusses some of the most consequential and riveting business decisions of our era. In it, Case predicts that society is at the dawn of the next technological revolution, namely the Third Wave of the internet. He prognosticates that it will transform the economy and the way we live our lives.


In a recent interview at WebSummit 2017, Case was interviewed by Recode’s Kara Swisher and questions were addressed that touch upon whether the political mood is changing towards big tech companies as well as whether we are on the cusp of a major tech backlash. The tech sector has been severely scrutinized by both the government as well as society. There is a divide between the big tech sector and the government, and this is mostly due to the fact that innovators and entrepreneurs want to move quickly, while government implemented regulations and policies take a long time and tend to slow down innovation. However, Case is optimistic regarding this matter, stating that there are in fact vast benefits in regulator issues and that it is part of the game that is the Third Wave. According to him, it is not just about software but about how to integrate it into society as well as about partnerships. Innovators ought to figure out ways to create networks with institutions around them.


The tech sector has been scrutinized by society as a threat to disrupt and even eliminate jobs as a result of the innovation economy. In response to this climate, however, Case suggest that instead of focusing on which jobs are lost, we ought to ask which jobs are created. Another approach to addressing some of the issues is a more evenly dispersed innovation economy. Case urges investors to not only focus on startups in only those locations that have traditionally collected most of the venture capital – California, New York, Massachusetts. Rather, investment ought to spread across more places and people so that new industries are created and individuals can choose where to start a company rather than be forced to move to those few places that receive funding.


An example of a new industry is within healthcare, specifically the cancer data startup, Tempus, a quintessential Third Wave company that is transforming healthcare in significant ways through its innovations. According to Case, Tempus is an “operating system for cancer” that specifically addresses a significant data as well as diagnosis problem within healthcare. He states that by bringing precision into medicine via big data, Tempus is transforming healthcare, and more attention ought to be directed towards startups like that. Revolution Growth has recently funded Tempus as part of a $70 million Series C funding round.


Lefkofsky’s drive behind Tempus is the realization that patient data use is lacking. “You realize that technology has not permeated health care and oncology in the way it has permeated other industries,” Lefkofsky said in an interview. “Physicians don’t have the tools to analyze the data. The basic infrastructure doesn’t exist at most institutions. As a doctor treating cancer, you have to be molecularly aware. We need tools to help doctors make decisions in a real-time clinical setting.”


One of Case’s final remarks regarding Third Wave companies particularly rings true for Tempus. He states that “If you wanna go quickly, you can go alone. If you wanna go far, you must go together. That’s the spirit of the entrepreneurs in the Third Wave”

Read: Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky sells one Glencoe estate for $5.2 million


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