Elizabeth Holmes ‘has ambition to rise again’ despite being jailed over Theranos case that gripped world | Science & Tech News

Disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes “has ambitions to rise again” despite being jailed for a years-long scam that has made her one of America’s most famous tech billionaires, creator of an award-winning podcast about the scandal.

38 years old is sentenced to more than 11 years in prison on friday, already convicted of four counts of fraud after a case that shook the world.

Her incredible rise and fall – from the youngest self-made female billionaire in US history to her once $9 billion company go under in shame – inspired by the podcast The Dropout, which this year was adapted into the hit TV series of the same name starring Amanda Seyfried.

ABC News host Rebecca Jarvis has interviewed former owners, investors and patients over the years, and has since spoken with some of the 12 jurors, who who decided Holmes’ fate.

She told Sky News: “It is wrong to assume that this is the last we will hear from Elizabeth Holmes.

“She has ambitions to rise again and do more.

“I’ve reported from several sources not involved in the lawsuit who lost money on this story, but who ultimately said they would support her again if she came back with an idea. new ideas.”

Read more:
How Elizabeth Holmes went from lovely Silicon Valley to disgrace

Amanda Seyfried as Holmes in The Dropout: Pic Disney+
Amanda Seyfried as Holmes in The Dropout: Pic Disney+

Investors can ‘try again’ if Holmes returns

Styled after Steve Jobs, the famous co-founder of Apple, Holmes’ company took Silicon Valley by storm with its promise of groundbreaking blood-testing technology that attracted a lot of big-name investors. .

Among them are Rupert Murdoch and US pharmaceutical giant Walgreens, while former secretary of state George Shultz and Henry Kissinger are on the board of directors.

They were all deceived by the promise of technology that could test for dozens of diseases with a single drop of blood, potentially eliminating the need to see a doctor by rolling these devices out in stores. .

“For a while, you could walk into Walgreens and visit one of Theranos’ wellness centers — and there’s the promise that the technology will find its way to most Walgreens in the country,” says Jarvis.

“If Elizabeth Holmes had accomplished her goal, this would have been in the hands of most Americans.”

Despite the fact that the technology never worked as advertised, Jarvis said that the promise of such an idea would be enough to entice investors again.

As a female executive, she has “defied a lot of hardships” by raising hundreds of millions of dollars, helped by creating an “enchanting” persona defined by t-shirts. turtlenecks, deep voices, and the goal of “changing the world”. .

“We’ve seen similar things happen with Silicon Valley — big investors pouring money into founders who… may not have been accused of fraud, but have lost everything,” says Jarvis. “.

“Definitely no exaggeration, you will see people lose to her once, try again and see if it works.”

Former US President Bill Clinton talks to Jack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba Group, and Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, during the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York
Elizabeth Holmes alongside former US President Bill Clinton

The dangerous ‘pressure’ of the tech giants

The culture of Silicon Valley, home of companies like Apple, Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaand Google’s owner, Alphabet, came under enormous scrutiny when the Theranos dream went up in smoke.

According to Jarvis, the trait of “fake it until you succeed” pervades US startups, creating pressure to help personalities like Holmes emerge and will continue to do so.

“You can’t have an Elizabeth Holmes without some ecosystem existing around her,” she said.

“I’ve been studying technology, business and economics for almost two decades, and you’ll see history repeating itself over and over again. Changes can happen – but they’re mostly incremental.”

If there is a positive legacy of the Theranos scandal, Jarvis believes it may lie in the willingness of whistleblowers to speak out against their employers.

Among the key people to unmask Holmes were research engineer Tyler Shultz, grandson of board member George, and lab assistant Erika Cheung.

Mr. Shultz’s relationship with his family was strained after his decision to speak out, while Ms. Cheung – a recent graduate at the time – feared for her career prospects.

Both contributed to John Carreyrou’s sensational reporting in The Wall Street Journal, and they featured on the podcast and show The Dropout, on which Jarvis was an executive producer.

“In the near term, they have to face real consequences and it’s not pleasant,” Jarvis told Sky News.

“But in the long run, what they said was true and upheld in court – Elizabeth Holmes was convicted, the jury held her accountable for what they said she was responsible for.

“It shows the power of speaking up when you see something that doesn’t seem right. Even if there may be short-term consequences, the truth will prevail in the end.”


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