Elizabeth Holmes is an American con artist and former biotech business owner who was found guilty of fraud. Holmes started Theranos in 2003 and was its chief executive officer (CEO).
Theranos is no longer in business, but its stock price went through the roof after the company said it had changed the way blood tests were done by coming up with ways to use surprisingly small amounts of blood, like from a fingerprick. In 2015, Holmes was named the youngest and richest self-made female billionaire in the United States by Forbes.
This was based on the fact that her company was worth $9 billion. The next year, when it became clear that some of Theranos’s claims might have been false, Forbes changed its estimate of Holmes’s net worth to zero, and Fortune included her in its list of “The World’s 19 Most Disappointing Leaders.”
Early Years and Education
Elizabeth Anne Holmes was born in Washington, D.C., on February 3, 1984. Christian Rasmus Holmes IV, her father, was a vice president at Enron, an energy company that later went bankrupt because of a scandal involving accounting fraud. Noel Anne’s mother, whose maiden name was Daoust, worked for a Congressional committee.
In the future, Christian was in charge of government agencies like USAID, the EPA, and the USTDA. Christian comes from a Danish family. Charles Louis Fleischmann, a Hungarian immigrant, started the Fleischmann’s Yeast company. He was her great-great-great-great-grandfather on her father’s side.
The Holmes household “Joseph Fuisz, a family friend, said, “I think the parents really missed the days when the family was one of the richest in America. The family was very proud of its yeast empire” history. And I think Elizabeth picked up on that when she was young.” Her mother was born in Georgia, and her father’s family is from France and Canada.
Holmes went to Houston’s St. John’s School. She liked computer programming in high school, and she says that she started her first business by selling C++ compilers to Chinese universities.
Her parents set up home tutoring in Mandarin Chinese for her, and when she was in the middle of her senior year in high school, Holmes started going to Stanford University’s summer Mandarin program. Holmes went to Stanford in 2002 to study chemical engineering and work in the School of Engineering as a student researcher and lab assistant.
What is Elizabeth Holmes’s Net Worth?
Before Theranos failed, Elizabeth Holmes Had a Massive Net Worth of $4.6 Billion but As of November 2022, Elizabeth Holmes Has an Estimated Net Worth of $0.
At that time, it was thought that Elizabeth Holmes had a net worth of about $4.6 billion. The huge amount of money she had came from Theranos, a company that Elizabeth Holmes started in 2003.
In 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also charged the former company’s founder and CEO with fraud, along with the former company president, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. In the same year, Holmes and Balwani were charged with wire fraud and conspiracy by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California.
Holmes’ trial was supposed to start in August 2020, but it was put off because she got pregnant. A year later, in August 2021, her trial started. Holmes was found guilty of three counts of wire fraud and one count of plotting to do wire fraud on January 3, 2022. She was given a prison sentence of 11 years and 3 months on November 18, 2022, to start on April 27, 2023.
Approximately How Much Money Did Elizabeth Holmes Steal?
After starting Theranos, Holmes’s old advisor at Stanford, Channing Roberston, put her in touch with venture capitalists. By the end of 2004, the young entrepreneur had already raised around $6 million in venture capital from well-known investors. Over the next 10 years, Holmes is thought to have raised more than $700 million for Theranos.
Theranos was a secret for years. The company didn’t have a website or send out press releases, and investors didn’t know how her technology really worked. Theranos didn’t become better known to the public until 2013 when it teamed up with Walgreens to set up blood sample collection centers in stores.
Around this time, Holmes started making headlines. She gave talks, spoke on panels, and was on the covers of Fortune and Forbes, which called her the youngest self-made woman billionaire at age 30. At its peak, her company, Theranos, was said to be worth $9 billion.
But something didn’t seem to fit. According to an investigation by Nick Bilton for Vanity Fair, Theranos’ chief scientist and one of the company’s first hires, Ian Gibbons, found flaws in the company’s technology and told Holmes that the tests weren’t ready for the general public to use.
Experts from outside the company also started to talk about their doubts about Theranos. In 2015, when medical research professor John Ioannidis and then Eleftherios Diamandis questioned the technology her company was using, these doubts came to a head.
Later that year, Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou wrote a very bad story about Theranos. He said that the company’s blood-testing machine, Edison, could not give accurate test results. Instead, Theranos used traditional machines for testing blood to do its tests. Holmes is said to have known, but she still lied to her investors, doctors, and patients in order to get money.
After the WSJ article, the FDA started looking into Theranos. The 2015 investigation resulted in multiple observed violations of FDA Title 21 Regulations. In January 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also started looking into a Theranos lab in Newark, California, where they found problems with the way tests were being done.
A few months later, CMS made it official that Holmes couldn’t own or run a clinical blood testing lab for the next two years. In the years that followed, Theranos kept getting sued and punished by medical authorities, state and federal organizations, investors, and patients. In September 2018, what was left of the company after years of lawsuits was shut down.
How She Found Theranos?
Holmes started Real-Time Cures in Palo Alto, California, in 2003, with the goal of “Democratizing Healthcare.” Holmes said that her fear of needles drove her to find a way to test blood without using a lot of blood. When Holmes told her Stanford medicine professor Phyllis Gardner about her plan to get “vast amounts of data from a few drops of blood taken from the tip of a finger,” Gardner said, “I don’t think your idea is going to work.”
She said it was impossible to do what Holmes said could be done. Several other expert professors of medicine said the same thing to Holmes. Holmes did not give up, and she was able to get Channing Robertson, her advisor and the dean of the School of Engineering, to back her idea.
Holmes changed the name of the company to Theranos in 2003. (a portmanteau of “Therapy” and “Diagnosis”). Robertson was the first person on the company’s board of directors. He also put Holmes in touch with venture capitalists.
Holmes liked Apple’s founder Steve Jobs and tried to dress like him. He often wore black turtleneck sweaters, just like Jobs did. Holmes says that when she was young, her mother dressed her in black turtlenecks, but an employee says that in 2007, she suggested copying the famous Issey Miyake turtleneck look that Steve Jobs wore.
Most of the time when she was in public, she spoke in a deep baritone voice. However, a former Theranos worker said that when he was hired, she greeted him in a voice typical of a woman her age. Gardner of Stanford also says that Holmes doesn’t have a deep voice by nature. But her family has always said that her deep voice is real.
Activities For Promotion
In June 2015, Holmes worked with Carlos Slim to improve blood tests in Mexico. In October 2015, she announced #IronSisters to help women who want to work in careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. In 2015, she helped write and pass a law in Arizona that lets people get and pay for lab tests without having to get approval from their insurance company or doctor. She did this while lying about how accurate and effective the Theranos device was.
Before Theranos fell apart, Holmes was praised by many people. She was named one of Time magazine’s “Time 100 Most Influential People” and made a member of the Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows in 2015. Forbes gave Holmes the Under 30 Doers Award, and its 2015 list of “The World’s Most Powerful Women” put her at number 73.
She was also named Woman of the Year by the magazine Glamour, and Pepperdine University gave her an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Holmes was given the 2015 Horatio Alger Award by the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, making her the award’s youngest winner ever. She had been named Businessperson of the Year by Fortune and had been on its list of 40 Under 40.
In 2016, Holmes was named in an article called “The World’s 19 Most Disappointing Leaders” by the magazine Fortune.
Holmes was in a relationship with technology entrepreneur Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, who was born in Pakistan but moved to India and then the US. Balwani is a Hindu. She met him in 2002 when she went to Beijing as part of a program at Stanford University to learn Mandarin. At the time, Holmes was 18 and had just finished high school.
Balwani was 19 years older than her and was married to another woman. Balwani split up with his wife in 2002, and he started dating Holmes around the same time Holmes dropped out of college in 2003. In 2005, the two of them moved into an apartment together.
Holmes got engaged to William “Billy” Evans, the 27-year-old heir to Evans Hotels, a family-owned group of hotels in the San Diego area. Holmes and Evans reportedly got married in a small ceremony in the middle of 2019.
Holmes and Evans haven’t said for sure if they are legally married, and many people still call him her “Partner” instead of her husband. They live together in San Francisco. In July 2021, Holmes gave birth to a son. It was said that she was pregnant again in October 2022, just a few weeks before her sentencing hearing.