- Elizabeth Holmes, once hailed as the next Steve Jobs, is the founder and disgraced ex-CEO of healthcare company Theranos.
- “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley,” a new documentary that chronicles the story, premieres on HBO on March 18.
- Holmes’ fortune was once estimated at $4.5 billion.
Elizabeth Holmes’ story was almost destined for the screen from the start. The stranger-than-fiction, real-life tale of fraud, secrecy and con artistry caught the attention of Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney. “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley,” his documentary chronicling the deception, will be available to watch on HBO on March 18.
Holmes — a Stanford University dropout who was once considered a Silicon Valley wunderkind and hailed as the next Steve Jobs — was expected to revolutionize healthcare with at-home blood testing devices made by her company, Theranos. Forbes named Holmes No. 1 on its list of America’s richest self-made women in 2015, when her net worth was an astonishing $4.5 billion.
But it all came crashing down in late 2015 when a series of investigative reports from The Wall Street Journal alleged that Theranos, the $9 billion startup Holmes founded in 2003, was nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Holmes rebuked the allegation, but her defense was no match for federal investigators and she was indicted on fraud charges in 2018.
Here’s what you should know about this controversial figure in tech.
Birthdate: Feb. 3, 1984
Net worth: Estimated at -$25 million
Primary source of income: Founder and ex-CEO, Theranos
Career highlight: Founder and ex-CEO, Theranos
Elizabeth Holmes’ Net Worth: Estimated at -$25 Million
Along with her public fall from grace, Holmes’ $4.5 billion net worth plummeted as the scandal surrounding her unfolded. In 2016, Forbes revised its list of America’s richest self-made women and estimated Holmes’ net worth to be $0.
In 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported that Holmes owed her company a debt of about $25 million. In a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Holmes agreed to pay a $500,000 fine. With Theranos embroiled in legal fees by 2017, Holmes’ current net worth is unknown, but it’s safe to assume that it’s nowhere near where it was at its peak.
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Theranos’ Big-Name Investors: Rupert Murdoch, the Waltons and More
To propel Theranos’ assent, Holmes accepted cash injections from high-profile investors including Rupert Murdoch, a company linked to Carlos Slim, the Walton family, and the family of Betsy DeVos. She also inked a contract with consumer healthcare giant Walgreens, all with the full knowledge and understanding that her product not only didn’t work — it had never worked.
Elizabeth Holmes’ Personal Life
Holmes seems to exist in the gray area between obsessive secrecy and paranoia. Even before the scandal broke, what was known about Holmes’ personal life came from a finely crafted personal narrative. Her story touched on her idolizing her father and featured a childhood in which she was more interested in advancing mankind than playing with Barbie dolls.
While in the office, her behavior could be categorized as quirky and driven by her reverence for the late Steve Jobs. Holmes, who often wore a black turtleneck in Jobs’ image, boasted that she never took vacations and didn’t own a TV, worked all the time and only went home to sleep, and kept to a strict liquid diet of green vegetable juices.
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The charges against Holmes could mean up to 20 years in prison.
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