A young Stanford dropout, at just the age of 19, Elizabeth Holmes became the founder and CEO of a biotech company she named Theranos — a mashup of the words “therapy” and “diagnosis.” Intended to develop affordable single-drop blood tests, Theranos was supposed to revolutionize the health care industry and change the lives of millions.
She quickly rounded the support of Silicon Valley’s elite, raking in almost $1 billion in venture capital. These investors, including high-profile figures like Rupert Murdoch and Betsy DeVos, contributed to Theranos being valued at $9 billion in 2015. She bragged about teaching herself Mandarin and selling C compilers to Chinese universities in high school, having later gone on to study chemical engineering in college.
A young woman – intelligent, forward-thinking, communicative and well-spoken – leading massive progress in a realm dominated by men like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Warren Buffet, among so many others. It all seemed so perfect.
The catch? The company’s technology didn’t actually work. John Carreyrou of The Wall Street Journal covered Theranos’ fraud, revealing that its patented blood tests gave inaccurate results.
ABC’s “The Dropout” discusses the leadership abuses, manipulation and blatant lies that were promoted by Holmes and the company’s former president Sunny Balwani, who maintained a secret relationship with Holmes for several years.Both are facing criminal charges of wire fraud.