Theranos has been the subject of much media attention in the past decade. The company has recently been in the spotlight for its legal troubles and controversial practices. Much of the Theranos story can be traced to one woman: Elizabeth Holmes. The following is an in-depth article about her history with the company and details how she lost it because of bad investments and unethical practices.
Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes
What was Theranos
Theranos was a medical biotech company that has been the center of controversy and media attention due to the practices and opinions of the CEO, Elizabeth Holmes. This article details her past with the company and how she lost it all because of bad investments and unethical practices.
Elizabeth Holmes History
In 2003 when 19-year-old college dropout Elizabeth holmes first incorporated her startup business Theranos in California. Back then, the name had nothing to do with blood tests—she wanted an original title for the new venture, but now seems ironic given how much time the two would spend working on developing a product involving blood testing; one they could revolutionize the world with through their supposedly revolutionary technology. If only it worked the way they said it did.
This is where things get exciting and start falling apart simultaneously. Despite not having any official qualifications or experience in medical lab work (hence why she dropped out of Stanford), Holmes managed to attract millions in funding for the company. Her pitch was that Theranos technology would allow people to get blood tests done quickly and painlessly with the comfort of getting the results back soon after, without having to go through a physician or other medical expert first.
It was a great pitch, but one that hinged on the accuracy of their technology working and being viable. And yet, no matter how much they promised this would be the case, things weren’t adding up with Theranos, from significant discrepancies in what investors were told about the company’s processes to faulty testing results given by lab technicians who had no idea what they were doing.
The Beginning of the End for Theranos
In 2015, reports began surfacing claiming that not only did Theranos’ tests often give inaccurate information based on faulty equipment—but some employees suspected as much at the time despite Holmes insisting otherwise. This led many people to question her motives behind claims of revolutionary blood test technologies: after all, it seemed like she wanted more than anything else for these types of advanced medical tests to be as accessible and commonplace in society—yet it was also confirmed that she wanted none of the responsibility or accountability for her company’s faulty technologies.
In 2016, Theranos officially caved under pressure from various legal entities who began investigating their practices after a damning report revealed how much trouble they were in. Holmes attempted damage control by promising investors (who had already lost millions) better safeguards against future mistakes. Yet, even then, it didn’t seem like anyone believed her considering all the evidence behind just how badly mismanaged her ideas and promises were.
The Demise of Elizabeth Holmes
The year 2018 saw Elizabeth Holmes finally lose everything despite hoping otherwise: along with being hit with federal fraud charges, Theranos closed its doors (for good this time), Holmes was forced to pay a $500,000 fine, and she faced up to twenty years in prison if found guilty.
The end of Theranos may be here, but the story is far from over: what started as an exciting venture with revolutionary promises has become much more than that; it’s come to represent the dangers of blind ambition coming before rational thought or honesty, no matter how badly one may want to believe otherwise.
As of the time, this article was written, Theranos is now gone. Elizabeth Holmes faces a looming trial date in San Jose, where she will likely have her future, and many other things decided for good—and once again, it’s all because of bad investments and unethically handled business practices that could only spell disaster; from the start.
The Theranos Cheat Sheet
1. Elizabeth Holmes founded the company Theranos
2. It is a lab testing company that has developed technology to run multiple tests with just one drop of blood
3. The company’s goal was to make medical testing cheaper and more accessible for patients all over the world
4. When it first started, the company was valued at $9 Billion, but now its value has dropped significantly after investigations into whether or not its technology works as well as they claim it does
5. In 2015, Elizabeth Holmes stepped down from her position as CEO of Theranos amid accusations that she had deceived investors about how much money the business had raised in investments and failed to disclose any information regarding ongoing lawsuits against them.
6. Theranos’ offices were raided by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2016
7. They are currently under federal investigation for misleading investors about their technology
8. Elizabeth Holmes has been charged with ‘massive fraud’ by the SEC and refused to answer questions by a Congressional committee about her company’s activities in February 2018
9. In March 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported that Walgreens ended its relationship with Theranos after months of trying to revive the partnership due to a lack of transparency from Theranos regarding their business practices and technology
10. There are many lawsuits against Theranos claiming that they used deceptive tactics while pitching their idea that was dubious from the start.
The story of Theranos is a cautionary tale for anyone who thinks they can make it big in the world without any qualifications or experience. In many ways, Holmes was her own worst enemy: she had no education or training in medical lab work. Still, she managed to attract millions from investors simply because she was good at selling what could have been great ideas and business ventures if only they were viable.
Thankfully, things didn’t turn out so well for her–at least not yet–as all charges against her are still pending as we speak; this article will be updated accordingly with new information on how everything turns out when time has passed enough to give us some indication one way or another…