The rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, the Theranos founder whose federal fraud trial is delayed until 2021

  • Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of Stanford University at 19 to start blood-testing startup Theranos, and grew the company to a valuation of $9 billion.
  • But it all came crashing down when the shortcomings and inaccuracies of the company’s technology were exposed, and Theranos and Holmes were charged with “massive fraud.” 
  • If convicted, Holmes could face up to 20 years in prison. A California judge initially set an August 2020 start date for the federal trial, but the case has been delayed until March 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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In 2014, blood-testing startup Theranos and its founder, Elizabeth Holmes, were on top of the world.

Back then, Theranos was a revolutionary idea thought up by a woman hailed as a genius who styled herself as a female Steve Jobs. Holmes was the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire, and Theranos was one of Silicon Valley’s unicorn startups, valued at an estimated $9 billion. 

But then it all came crashing down.

The shortcomings and inaccuracies of Theranos’s technology were exposed, along with the role Holmes played in covering it all up. Holmes was ousted as CEO and charged with “massive fraud,” and the company was forced to close its labs and testing centers, ultimately shuttering operations altogether.

If convicted, Holmes faces up to 20 years in prison. As she awaits trial, Holmes has reportedly found the time to get engaged — and married — to a hotel heir named Billy Evans.

Holmes’ trial was initially scheduled to start in August, but the trial has been delayed until March 2021 at the earliest due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, it’s likely the trial will continued to be delayed.

This is how Holmes went from precocious child, to ambitious Stanford dropout, to an embattled startup founder charged with fraud: 

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