The Theranos Bubble: The Rise And Fall Of Multibillionaire Elizabeth Holmes

Elizabeth Holmes is the founder and chief executive of a now-defunct health technology company, Theranos. The American former businesswoman currently faces 11 criminal charges alleging that she tricked the investors and patients through hailing Theranos’ blood testing technology as the medical breakthrough in history when in fact the device was prone to multiple wild errors.

Elizabeth Holmes used to be admired by many because of her achievements at a very young age. A lot of people used to look up to her and some people even want to be her. She was recognized as one of the world’s youngest female billionaire, with her incredibly unusual strategies for business that had her flying under the radar for about a decade while she built her revolutionary innovation Theranos.

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Early Life of Elizabeth Anne Holmes

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Elizabeth Anne Holmes was born on February 3, 1984 in Washington, D.C. Elizabeth’s father, Christian Rasmus Holmes IV, was working for the energy company that later went bankrupt, Enron, as Vice President. Her father later went on to work in executive positions in the government agencies such as USTDA, EPA and USAID. Her mother on the other hand, Noel Anne, has served as a Congressional committee staffer. She attended St. John’s School in Houston and during her high school years, she has always been interested in computer programming so she later on went to start a business selling C++ compilers to some Chinese universities.

At the end of her freshman year, she has worked at the Genome Institute of Singapore where she used to test severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-1) with blood samples collected through syringes. She then filed for a patent on 2003 for a wearable drug delivery patch. A year after, she has dropped out of Stanford’s School of Engineering in 2004 and used the tuition money she has as a seed funding for her healthcare technology company, Theranos.

Elizabeth Holmes’ Crazy Rich Lifestyle

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For a decade, Holmes worked tirelessly to make Theranos succeed. Soon, she has gained worldwide recognition for her business, Theranos. In 2015, she was named the most prominent person in Silicon Valley by Business Insider’s. She was already a multibillionaire at the time with about $4.7 billion of net worth in 2015. With her success, it is not surprising that she has a luxurious lifestyle. Holmes splurged on a lot of expensive things while she her business was at its prime, and spents US$1 million monthly to rent the Theranos’ Palo Alto headquarters.

During the success of her company, Holmes lived in a $135 million Los Angeles mansion with her boyfriend Billy Evans. They stayed among America’s most expensive estates Green Gables, in Silicon Valley. The English country manor-esque mansion has nine bedrooms and sits on a 30-hectare estate. The mansion has four pools which adorns the grounds, a vegetable garden and tennis court. The mansion was built in 1911 and has been used to host the politicians, elites and royalties. While they were staying at a $135 million mansion, the couple was also renting a luxurious flat located in San Francisco for about US$5,000 a month. According to reports, they continued renting the flat even after the downfall of Theranos in 2018.

The Downfall of Elizabeth Holmes

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Theranos was at its peak in 2015, raising over $700 million in investment alone. A lot of prominent business personalities invested in the company including Tim Draper and Larry Ellison. During its peak, the company was worth $9 billion and Holmes owns half of the company which made people call her the female Steve Jobs. The technology developed by Theranos would have been the best and the most revolutionary equipment in history, unfortunately it did not work. It was two time Pulitzer winner journalist of The Wall Street Journal, John Carreyrou, who first wrote a story about the company. He received a tip that the technology created by Theranos had lot errors and does not work as promised.

While John Carreyrou is investigating, former Theranos employees came forward to tell the truth, Erika Cheung and Tyler Schultz. They have shared the technology and practices with John and revealed all the lies the company has orchestrated. Soon, different whistleblowers came forward and eventually, in 2018, Holmes stepped down as the company CEO and was charged with numerous criminal charges for misleading investors and deliberately making false claims about the capabilities of their equipment. Holmes is currently facing 11 criminal charges and is now awaiting trial.

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Sources: Pan Macmillan, The Guardian, SCMP



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