Elizabeth Holmes Biography
Who is Elizabeth Holmes?
Elizabeth Anne Holmes is a 38-year-old, American former biotechnology entrepreneur who founded and served as CEO of Theranos Inc., a defunct health technology company, from 2003 to 2018.
Theranos claimed to have revolutionized blood testing by creating techniques that could use surprisingly small volumes of blood, like that obtained from a finger prick, leading to a rise in valuation.
Based on a $9 billion valuation of her company, Forbes named Holmes the youngest and richest self-made female billionaire in America in 2014.
However, by June 2016, estimates of her net worth had dropped dramatically to zero in light of serious concerns regarding Theranos’s business practices and her 50% ownership stake in the company.
She was mentioned in a feature story by Fortune titled “The World’s 19 Most Disappointing Leaders.” After being forced to give up control of Theranos in 2018, Holmes was found guilty of cheating investors four years later.
Elizabeth Holmes Family
Elizabeth Holmes, who is 38 years old, was born in Washington, D.C., on February 3, 1984. Christian Rasmus Holmes IV, her father, was the vice president at Enron which later went bankrupt. Her mother, Noel Anne (née Daoust) was a Congressional committee employee.
Later, Christian held leadership positions in government organizations like USAID, the EPA, and USTDA. Christian Holmes V, her younger brother, was hired by her company despite having no prior experience in science.
Elizabeth Holmes Relationship
Holmes had a romantic relationship with Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, a technology entrepreneur who was Hindu and was born in Pakistan before moving to India and then the US.
She met him during a trip to Beijing for Stanford University’s Mandarin program in 2002.
Holmes was 18 at the time and had just completed her high school education; Balwani was 19 years older than her and was already married.
Balwani, who had separated from his wife in 2002, started seeing Holmes around the time Holmes dropped out of college in 2003.
The couple shared an apartment in 2005. They ran the company together while keeping their sexual relationship mostly hidden.
On November 29, 2021, Holmes claimed that she had been sexually assaulted while attending Stanford and that, following the incident, she had turned to Balwani for support.
Additionally, she claimed that throughout their lengthy love relationship, which lasted more than ten years, Balwani was extremely domineering and occasionally verbally and sexually harassed her. She claimed he also sought to “destroy the person” she was and build a “new Elizabeth” in her testimony.
Elizabeth Holmes Education
In Houston, Holmes attended St. John’s School. She was interested in computer programming during high school and started her first business selling C++ compilers to Chinese universities.
Holmes enrolled at Stanford in 2002 to study chemical engineering and work as a student researcher and laboratory assistant in the School of Engineering.
After finishing her freshman year, Holmes worked in a laboratory at the Genome Institute of Singapore, where she tested for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-1) using syringes to collect blood samples.
She filed her first patent application for a wearable drug delivery patch in 2003. She later dropped out of Stanford’s School of Engineering in March 2004 and used her tuition money to start a consumer healthcare technology company, Theranos.
Elizabeth Holmes Career
In 2003, Holmes founded Real-Time Cures in Palo Alto, California, with the goal of “democratizing healthcare.” Holmes cited her phobia of needles as a motivator for her desire to perform blood tests with small amounts of blood.
When Holmes proposed collecting “large amounts of data from a few droplets of blood gotten from the tip of a finger” to her medicine professor Phyllis Gardner and several other expert medical professors, she was told it was impossible.
However, Holmes did not give up and was able to convince her advisor and dean of the School of Engineering, Channing Robertson, to support her idea.
She later renamed the company Theranos in 2003. (a portmanteau of “therapy” and “diagnosis”). Robertson joined the company’s board of directors and introduced Holmes to venture capitalists.
She had raised $6 million by December 2004 for her company’s fund. Theranos had more than $92 million in venture capital by the end of 2010.
In July 2011, Holmes met former Secretary of State George Shultz, who later joined Theranos’ board of directors. Over the next three years, Holmes assembled “the most illustrious board in U.S. corporate history.”
Before the company announced a partnership with Walgreens to launch in-store blood sample collection centers in September 2013, Holmes ran Theranos in “stealth mode” without issuing press releases or maintaining a website.
Eric Topol, the editor-in-chief of Medscape, interviewed her for the publication and praised her for “this phenomenal rebooting of laboratory medicine.”
Theranos had raised more than $400 million in venture capital and was valued at $9 billion. She had her name on 18 American patents and 66 foreign patents by the end of 2014.
To use Theranos technology, Holmes signed agreements with the Cleveland Clinic, Capital BlueCross, and AmeriHealth Caritas in 2015.
Holmes was prohibited by CMS from owning, managing, or overseeing a blood-testing service for two years in July 2016. A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services appeals board heard Theranos’ appeal of that judgment.
Soon after, Walgreens cut ties with Theranos and shuttered its in-store blood donation facilities. The company was also told by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to stop using one of its main inventions, the Capillary Tube Nanotainer device.
Approximately 99 percent of Theranos shareholders settled with the company on May 16, 2017, agreeing to have all pending and future lawsuits dismissed in exchange for preferred stock.
In March 2018, the SEC accused Holmes and Ramesh Balwani, the former president of Theranos, of fraud. Holmes later settled with the SEC. The company was accused of fraud for making the false claim that the U.S. Department of Defense used its technology in combat.
In 2014, the company claimed to have a $100 million revenue stream, but in reality, it only generated $100,000. Theranos’s voting control was given up, 18.9 million shares were returned to the company, Holmes was barred from serving as an officer or director for 10 years, and a fine of $500,000 was imposed.
In October 2016 and January 2017, 340 and 155 employees, respectively, were let go. Theranos announced its intention to permanently lay off 105 employees in a WARN Act notice it submitted to the State of California in April 2018, leaving it with fewer than twenty-four workers.
The majority of the remaining staff members were let go in August 2018. The company announced its formal dissolution on September 5, 2018, and that it had started the process of distributing its remaining funds and assets to its creditors.
Elizabeth Holmes’s Net Worth
Elizabeth Holmes was regarded as the youngest and richest self-made female billionaire in America by Forbes due to her company’s success with Theranos having a $9 billion valuation. She is currently valued at $0 after her company was found to be fraudulent.
Elizabeth Holmes Sentence
On Friday, November 18, 2022, Elizabeth A. Holmes was found guilty of defrauding investors in Theranos, Inc. of hundreds of millions of dollars and was sentenced to 135 months (11 years, 3 months) in federal prison.
U.S. District Judge Davila also sentenced Holmes to three years of probation following his release from prison in addition to the 135-month prison term.
The parties were told to get together and choose a later time for a hearing to decide how much restitution Holmes should pay. No penalty was imposed.
On April 27, 2023, Holmes was told to turn herself in so she could start her prison term.