Tempus just landed the year's third-largest funding round at $70M

by Andreas Rekdal
September 25, 2017

As far as tech funding is concerned, Chicago is closing out the quarter with a bang.

Tempus, a Chicago startup with its sights set on a more personalized and data-driven approach to cancer treatment, announced on Monday that it has raised a $70 million Series C round. The announcement comes less than a week after four local startups raised $83 million over a two-day span.

Founded in 2015 by Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky, Tempus uses genomic sequencing, molecular science and Big Data analytics to help doctors pinpoint the treatment options their patients are most likely to respond to. Those predictions are based on analysis of the individual patient’s tumor, as well as treatment results from patients with similar genetic profiles.

“In oncology, and across healthcare more broadly, datasets have historically been small and disorganized,” said Lefkofsky in a statement. “Thankfully, technology has opened the door to new possibilities and for the first time in history, it is possible to amass massive amounts of molecular and clinical data and put it to work for the benefit of patients.”

Over the course of its two-year life span, Tempus has already built up a solid bank of partners, including University of Chicago Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Northwestern University’s Lurie Cancer Center, Duke University School of Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic.

By partnering with many of the country’s most prestigious research hospitals, Tempus wants to build of the world’s most comprehensive database of molecular and clinical data.

Revolution Growth and New Enterprise Associates bankrolled the Series C, which brings Tempus’ total funding to $130 million.

"We are thrilled to have led an investment in Tempus,” said NEA’s Peter Barris in a statement. “Given NEA's long and successful history investing in the intersection of technology and life science, we felt like the perfect strategic partner given Tempus's mission to help doctors personalize care by collecting and analyzing large volumes of data."

Bringing scale and organization to confront problems traditionally solved on an ad hoc basis is something of a speciality for Lefkofsky. Echo Global Logistics and Groupon, which he also co-founded, take similar approaches to helping businesses streamline their shipping operations and reach new customers, respectively.

In a strong year of tech funding so far, Tempus’ Series C narrowly edges out Raise’s $60 million round, closed last week, as the year’s third largest to date. Uptake, another Lefkofsky brainchild, landed the second largest round, a $90 million Series B. The year’s biggest round to date was brought in by Outcome Health: a $500 million initial funding round at a $5 billion valuation.

Tempus currently employs around 200 people, according to Crain’s.

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