Who Is Elizabeth Holmes, CEO Of Theranos? [The Dropout]

The biggest fraud of the Silicon valley.


Elizabeth Holmes is the founder and former CEO of Theranos. In 2014, Theranos was a billion-dollar company, and Holmes was the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire worth $4.5 billion. Theranos was one of Silicon Valley’s unicorn startups that made its way to the top due to the lies made up by Holmes.

Elizabeth Holmes is now one of the most controversial figures in Silicon Valley. She was guilty of committing criminal fraud on four out of 11 charges of fraud. She is now facing up to 80 years in federal prison, 20 years for each count of fraud.

How did Elizabeth Holmes find Theranos?

Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of Stanford University and founded blood-testing startup Theranos in 2003. The company aims to use just a few drops of blood to run over 200 medical tests on patients. To achieve this, Theranos developed a machine Holmes called the Edison device.

The Edison device would only need to prick the patient’s fingers for just a few drops of blood. Holmes claimed that the machine only needed a few drops of blood to run multiple tests. Due to this, the company soared in valuation after claiming to have revolutionized blood testing.


However, Theranos’s success was mainly due to the numerous lies made up by Elizabeth Holmes. The Edison device was also a sham that used other companies’ machines to perform the actual tests. The company also made big claims about who it was working with.

Holmes used the logos of multiple medical companies like Pfizer to make it seem they were working with them. This deception led to many investors pouring money into Theranos. At one point, Theranos’s market value was at $9 billion (£6.5 million).

Elizabeth tried to keep all of this a secret by making her employees sign NDA’s and keeping the company’s proprietary processes a secret. However, it wasn’t long before the truth came out.

The downfall of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos

theranos elizabeth holmes

In 2015, several reports by whistleblowers and regulatory investigations revealed that Holmes had misled investors and the government. The investigations also revealed the truth about the Edison machine. In truth, the machine’s results were unreliable, and Theranos had also been using machines made by other manufacturers for most of its testing.

Several lawsuits were filed against Theranos and Elizabeth herself for defrauding the investors and advertising a false product. Elizabeth still owes millions in restitution and fines to her investors. Her sentencing is scheduled for September 26, 2022.

However, it is still not clear whether she will go to jail or not. She is currently free on bond and living in her $135 million Silicon Valley estate. Those who want to know more about the story of Elizabeth Holmes can watch The Dropout mini-series.

Where to watch The Dropout?

The Dropout is based on the story of Elizabeth Holmes and the start and end of her company Theranos. Elizabeth Holmes is played by Amanda Seyfried in a jarring performance. The series is available on Hulu, which has a 7-day free trial for new users. Check out ‘The Dropout’ mini-series by going to this link.

If you like this simple explainer, check out our ‘Short Bytes’ and ‘Know Who’s Who‘ sections. We take complex tech topics and break them into short, easy-to-understand articles.

Nalin Rawat

Nalin Rawat

Nalin is a tech writer who covers VR, gaming, awesome new gadgets, and the occasional trending affairs of the tech industry. He has been writing about tech and gaming since he started pursuing Journalism in college. He has also previously worked in print organizations like The Statesman and Business Standard. In his free time, he plays FPS games and explores virtual reality. Reach out to him at @NalinRawat
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