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Who is Elizabeth Holmes?

Elizabeth Anne Holmes was born on 3 February 1984, in Washington, D.C. USA, and is an entrepreneur, probably best known as the founder and former CEO of Theranos, a company that became known for false claims of revolutionary blood tests, using just small amounts of blood to be able to diagnose a variety of diseases.

The Net Worth of Elizabeth Holmes

How rich is Elizabeth Holmes? As of mid-2018, sources estimate a net worth that is zero, all lost following the discovery of wire fraud. She was previously the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world, through the $9 billion worth of value she earned through Theranos. Now her net worth has declined due to her returning money, after fraud was discovered, while also accruing fines.

Early Life and Education

Elizabeth’s father was a part of numerous government agencies around the world, such as USAID, while her mother worked as a Congressional committee staffer. She would attend St. John’s School, and during her time there, became very interested in both computer programming and business. She managed to start her first business selling C++ compilers to Chinese University.

In 2001, she became a President’s Scholar at Stanford University, and studied chemical engineering, and also worked at the Genome Institute of Singapore during her freshman year, to test for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). In 2003, the first patent she filed was on a wearable drug-delivery patch and the following year, she decided to drop out of Stanford’s School of Engineering to use her money as seed funding for a healthcare technology company. She founded Theranos with the goal of making health information accessible to all people early on, so that health problems could be detected as early as possible.

The Rise of Theranos

Holmes had the idea of getting considerable amounts of data through a few droplets of blood from the tip of a finger, describing the fear of needles as one of the motivations for creating the company. Several of her professors said that the task was impossible, but she was able to get someone on the board of the company leading her to pitch her idea to venture capitalists. In 2004, she had managed to raise $6 million to fund Theranos and the company was soon earning money from pharmaceutical companies to conduct testing.

In 2010, her company had grown to $92 million in venture capital, and she was introduced to former Secretary of State George Shultz, who would become a board member of the company. Theranos became the company with the most illustrious board in US corporate history over the next three years. The company managed to avoid media contact until 2013, when they announced a partnership with Walgreens to create in-store blood sample collection centers. The following year, she was on the cover of numerous publications such as Fortune, Forbes, The New York Times, etc. She had by then become the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire with $9 billion, and more than $400 million in venture capital; her name appeared on over 80 patents worldwide.

The Fall of Theranos

In 2015, The Wall Street Journal reported that one of the blood testing devices of Theranos could prove inaccurate, but the claims were quickly shot down by Elizabeth. The following year the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent a warning letter to the company after they discovered that the California lab had numerous problems. CMS went to propose a two year ban on the company, and Elizabeth made a public statement about how they should’ve found these issues much earlier.

In 2016, the CMS banned her from owning, operating, and directing blood testing for the next two years, while Walgreens also ended their association with Theranos. Civil and criminal investigations were undertaken by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California – she continued to deny any wrongdoing. In 2018, it was discovered that the company falsely claimed their technology was being used by the US Department of Defense, and that it had published false revenue at $100 million in 2014, when it was actually only $100,000. She was banned from holding an officer position in any public company for 10 years, and was also given a $500,000 fine. Theranos laid off virtually all its workforce, once 800 strong, and only has fewer than two dozen employees remaining. Other charges remain in progress, although to what likely effect is unknown, as Holmes is now effectively bankrupt.

Personal Life

There have been reports released that Holmes was romantically involved for several years with former Theranos Chief Operating Officer Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani from 2005. Both of them are now facing an investigation on nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud with both of them not pleading guilty. A film is also being made about them, entitled “Bad Blood” based on the book “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup” by John Carreyrou.

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