By Sofia Rojas, 9th Grade
Elizabeth Holmes became the trending topic of entrepreneurs after she founded the blood-testing company of Theranos. But her image quickly remodeled itself after she was found guilty of 4 counts of fraud. So, who is Elizabeth Holmes?
Elizabeth Anne Holmes is an American businesswoman who was born on the 3rd of February 1984. She initially dropped out of Stanford to pursue her dream career in biotechnology. In 2003, she founded the blood-testing company Theranos. Theranos operated by only accumulating little droplets of blood with the idea of collecting a vast amount of biological data. When Elizabeth expressed her idea to her medicine professor, she was faced with ongoing criticism about how her idea was flawed. However, in 2004 Holmes had raised more than 6 million dollars to fund her startup. Furthermore, in 2010 Theranos had accumulated more than 92 million dollars in capital alone. By 2015, Forbes had already recognized Holmes as the youngest and wealthiest self-made billionaire in the U.S.
But soon the buzz of Theranos came crashing down. In January, Holmes was found guilty of three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Initially, her scheme took investors’ money on the condition that she wouldn’t have to reveal how Theranos’ technology operated. By August of 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) started investigating the company and many regulators found inaccuracies in the testing laboratories. This same year, Wall Street Journal writer John Carreyrou published his ongoing investigation of Theranos. In this article, Carreyrou reported the continuous struggle Theranos faced with technology. Nonetheless, everything spiraled out of control after a whistleblower reported concerns about their biggest testing device, the Edison.
The Wall Street Journal wrote continuous pieces about how the results were “unreliable” and that the company for most of its expenditure was using commercially available machines made by other manufacturers and companies. Finally, in 2016, US regulators banned Holmes from operating anything related to blood testing for 2 years. Three months later she was arrested on 11 criminal charges. Prosecutors alleged that Holmes intentionally misled consumers about the company’s testing machines while she heavily dramatized Therano’s efficiency. Holmes was also presumed by the media to make her voice deeper to sound “scarier”. Moreover, she allegedly copied Steve Jobs’s clothing style.
Elizabeth Holmes proves how prestige and connections can take you far for extended periods. Her fraud not only misled thousands of patients on the diagnosis of chronic illnesses. Not only this, but it also tainted the image of Silicon Valley and the new ongoing phenomenon of technology.
- Thomas, B. D. (2022, January 4). Theranos scandal: Who is Elizabeth Holmes and why was she on trial? BBC News. Retrieved April 8, 2022, from https://www.bbc.com/news/business-58336998
- The rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, the Theranos founder whose federal fraud trial is delayed until 2021. (2020, August 11). Business Insider Nederland. Retrieved April 8, 2022, from https://www.businessinsider.nl/theranos-founder-ceo-elizabeth-holmes-life-story-bio-2018-4?international=true&r=US
- Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has been found guilty of 4 fraud-related charges after a months-long federal trial. (2022, January 4). Business Insider. Retrieved April 8, 2022, from https://www.businessinsider.com/elizabeth-holmes-theranos-trial-found-guilty-of-wire-fraud-conspiracy-2021-12?international=true&r=US&IR=T
- Leiva, L. (2019, January 29). Keep Track Of The Theranos Scandal With This Detailed Timeline. Refinery29. Retrieved April 8, 2022, from https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2019/01/222855/theranos-scandal-timeline-what-happened-elizabeth-holmes-documentary
- O’Brien, S. A. (2018, May 21). “Bad Blood” explores the culture inside disgraced startup Theranos. CNNMoney. Retrieved April 8, 2022, from https://money.cnn.com/2018/05/21/technology/theranos-bad-blood/index.html