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Elizabeth Holmes is reportedly engaged. Here’s a timeline of the Theranos CEO’s rise and fall, from becoming the world’s youngest female billionaire to getting charged with massive fraud

Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes was a poster child for Silicon Valley success — until it all came crashing down.
Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes was a poster child for Silicon Valley success — until it all came crashing down. Kimberly White/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize

  • 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.
  • HBO debuted a documentary Monday chronicling the trajectory of Theranos called "The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley."
  • Here's the story of Holmes' rise and eventual downfall.

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, and eventually shutter operations altogether.

Holmes and Theranos are the focus of a new HBO documentary that debuted in March, called "The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley." The documentary joins the book "Bad Blood" and a podcast from ABC News that have combed through the story of Theranos and how its founder was able to defraud investors and potential customers.

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

Elizabeth Holmes was born on February 3, 1984 in Washington, D.C. Her mom, Noel, was a Congressional committee staffer, and her dad, Christian Holmes, worked for Enron before moving to government agencies like USAID.

Elizabeth Holmes was born on February 3, 1984 in Washington, D.C. Her mom, Noel, was a Congressional committee staffer, and her dad, Christian Holmes, worked for Enron before moving to government agencies like USAID.

Source: Elizabeth Holmes/Twitter, CNN, Vanity Fair

Holmes' family moved when she was young, from Washington, D.C. to Houston.

Holmes' family moved when she was young, from Washington, D.C. to Houston.
Orhan Cam/Shutterstock

Source: Fortune

When she was 7, Holmes tried to invent her own time machine, filling up an entire notebook with detailed engineering drawings. At the age of 9, Holmes told relatives she wanted to be a billionaire when she grew up. Her relatives described her as saying it with the "utmost seriousness and determination."

When she was 7, Holmes tried to invent her own time machine, filling up an entire notebook with detailed engineering drawings. At the age of 9, Holmes told relatives she wanted to be a billionaire when she grew up. Her relatives
REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Source: CBS News, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Holmes had an "intense competitive streak" from a young age. She often played Monopoly with her younger brother and cousin, and she would insist on playing until the end, collecting the houses and hotels until she won. If Holmes was losing, she would often storm off. More than once, she ran directly through a screen on the door.

Holmes had an "intense competitive streak" from a young age. She often played Monopoly with her younger brother and cousin, and she would insist on playing until the end, collecting the houses and hotels until she won. If Holmes
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Source:Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

It was during high school that Holmes developed her work ethic, often staying up late to study. She quickly became a straight-A student, and even started her own business: she sold C++ compilers, a type of software that translates computer code, to Chinese schools.

It was during high school that Holmes developed her work ethic, often staying up late to study. She quickly became a straight-A student, and even started her own business: she sold C++ compilers, a type of software that translates
Tyrone Siu/Reuters

Source: Fortune, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Holmes started taking Mandarin lessons, and part-way through high school, talked her way into being accepted by Stanford University’s summer program, which culminated in a trip to Beijing.

Holmes started taking Mandarin lessons, and part-way through high school, talked her way into being accepted by Stanford University’s summer program, which culminated in a trip to Beijing.
Shutterstock

Source:Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Inspired by her great-great-grandfather Christian Holmes, a surgeon, Holmes decided she wanted to go into medicine. But she discovered early on that she was terrified of needles. Later, she said this influenced her to start Theranos.

Inspired by her great-great-grandfather Christian Holmes, a surgeon, Holmes decided she wanted to go into medicine. But she discovered early on that she was terrified of needles. Later, she said this influenced her to start

Source: San Francisco Business Times

Holmes went to Stanford to study chemical engineering. When she was a freshman, she became a "president's scholar," an honor which came with a $3,000 stipend to go toward a research project.

Holmes went to Stanford to study chemical engineering. When she was a freshman, she became a "president's scholar," an honor which came with a $3,000 stipend to go toward a research project.

Source: Fortune

Holmes spent the summer after her freshman year interning at the Genome Institute in Singapore. She got the job partly because she spoke Mandarin.

Holmes spent the summer after her freshman year interning at the Genome Institute in Singapore. She got the job partly because she spoke Mandarin.
Wong Maye-E/AP

Source: Fortune

As a sophomore, Holmes went to one of her professors, Channing Robertson, and said: "Let's start a company." With his blessing, she founded Real-Time Cures, later changing the company's name to Theranos. Thanks to a typo, early employees’ paychecks actually said "Real-Time Curses."

As a sophomore, Holmes went to one of her professors, Channing Robertson, and said: "Let's start a company." With his blessing, she founded Real-Time Cures, later changing the company's name to Theranos. Thanks to a typo, early
Getty Images

Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Holmes soon filed a patent application for "Medical device for analyte monitoring and drug delivery," a wearable device that would administer medication, monitor patients' blood, and adjust the dosage as needed.

Holmes soon filed a patent application for "Medical device for analyte monitoring and drug delivery," a wearable device that would administer medication, monitor patients' blood, and adjust the dosage as needed.

Source: Fortune, US Patent Office

By the next semester, Holmes had dropped out of Stanford altogether, and was working on Theranos in the basement of a college house.

By the next semester, Holmes had dropped out of Stanford altogether, and was working on Theranos in the basement of a college house.
Jeff Chiu/AP

Source: Wall Street Journal

Theranos's business model was based around the idea that it could run blood tests, using proprietary technology that required only a finger pinprick and a small amount of blood. Holmes said the tests would be able to detect medical conditions like cancer and high cholesterol.

Theranos's business model was based around the idea that it could run blood tests, using proprietary technology that required only a finger pinprick and a small amount of blood. Holmes said the tests would be able to detect
Steve Jennings/Getty Images

Source: Wall Street Journal

Holmes started raising money for Theranos from prominent investors like Oracle founder Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, the father of a childhood friend and the founder of prominent VC firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Theranos raised more than $700 million, and Draper has continued to defend Holmes.

Holmes started raising money for Theranos from prominent investors like Oracle founder Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, the father of a childhood friend and the founder of prominent VC firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Theranos raised
Investor Tim Draper (right). CNBC

Source: SEC, Crunchbase

Holmes took investors' money on the condition that she wouldn't have to reveal how Theranos' technology worked. Plus, she would have final say over everything having to do with the company.

Holmes took investors' money on the condition that she wouldn't have to reveal how Theranos' technology worked. Plus, she would have final say over everything having to do with the company.
JP Yim/Getty

Source: Vanity Fair

That obsession with secrecy extended to every aspect of Theranos. For the first decade Holmes spent building her company, Theranos operated in stealth mode. She even took three former Theranos employees to court, claiming they had misused Theranos trade secrets.

That obsession with secrecy extended to every aspect of Theranos. For the first decade Holmes spent building her company, Theranos operated in stealth mode. She even took three former Theranos employees to court, claiming they had
Kimberly White/Getty

Source: San Francisco Business Times

Holmes' attitude toward secrecy and running a company was borrowed from a Silicon Valley hero of hers: former Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Holmes started dressing in black turtlenecks like Jobs, decorated her office with his favorite furniture, and like Jobs, never took vacations.

Holmes' attitude toward secrecy and running a company was borrowed from a Silicon Valley hero of hers: former Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Holmes started dressing in black turtlenecks like Jobs, decorated her office with his favorite
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Source: Vanity Fair

Even Holmes's uncharacteristically deep voice may have been part of a carefully crafted image intended to help her fit in in the male-dominated business world. In ABC's podcast on Holmes called "The Dropout," former Theranos employees said the CEO sometimes "fell out of character," particularly after drinking, and would speak in a higher voice.

Even Holmes's uncharacteristically deep voice may have been part of a carefully crafted image intended to help her fit in in the male-dominated business world. In ABC's podcast on Holmes called "The Dropout," former Theranos
Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, The Cut

Holmes was a demanding boss, and wanted her employees to work as hard as she did. She had her assistants track when employees arrived and left each day. To encourage people to work longer hours, she started having dinner catered to the office around 8 p.m. each night.

Holmes was a demanding boss, and wanted her employees to work as hard as she did. She had her assistants track when employees arrived and left each day. To encourage people to work longer hours, she started having dinner catered
Theranos

Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

More behind-the-scenes footage of what life was like at Theranos was revealed in leaked videos obtained by the team behind the HBO documentary "The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley." The more than 100 hours of footage showed Holmes walking around the office, scenes from company parties, speeches from Holmes and Balwani, and Holmes dancing to "U Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer.

By the end of 2017, Theranos was in need of a cash infusion and made a deal with Fortress Investment Group for $100 million in secured debt financing to get it through 2018. The deal relied on Theranos hitting certain development
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes at the company's headquarters. Courtesy HBO

Source: Business Insider

Shortly after Holmes dropped out of Stanford at age 19, she began dating Theranos president and COO Sunny Balwani, who was 20 years her senior. The two met during Holmes' third year in Stanford’s summer Mandarin program, the summer before she went to college. She was bullied by some of the other students, and Balwani had come to her aid.

Sunny Balwani joined Theranos in September 2009. He had known Holmes since 2002. Balwani had a background in software engineering and business.
Footage of Sunny Balwani presenting. "60 Minutes" "60 Minutes"

Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Balwani became Holmes' No. 2 at Theranos despite having little experience. He was said to be a bully, and often tracked his employees' whereabouts. Holmes and Balwani eventually broke up in spring 2016 when Holmes pushed him out of the company.

Balwani became Holmes' No. 2 at Theranos despite having little experience. He was said to be a bully, and often tracked his employees' whereabouts. Holmes and Balwani eventually broke up in spring 2016 when Holmes pushed him out
Sunny Balwani pictured in January 2019. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

In 2008, the Theranos board decided to remove Holmes as CEO in favor of someone more experienced. But over the course of a two-hour meeting, Holmes convinced them to let her stay in charge of her company.

In 2008, the Theranos board decided to remove Holmes as CEO in favor of someone more experienced. But over the course of a two-hour meeting, Holmes convinced them to let her stay in charge of her company.
Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

As Theranos started to rake in millions of funding, Holmes became the subject of media attention and acclaim in the tech world. She graced the covers of Fortune and Forbes, gave a TED Talk, and spoke on panels with Bill Clinton and Alibaba's Jack Ma.

As Theranos started to rake in millions of funding, Holmes became the subject of media attention and acclaim in the tech world. She graced the covers of Fortune and Forbes, gave a TED Talk, and spoke on panels with Bill Clinton
Elizabeth Holmes with former President Bill Clinton and Alibaba cofounder Jack Ma. Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Source: Vanity Fair

Theranos quickly began securing outside partnerships. Capital Blue Cross and Cleveland Clinic signed on to offer Theranos tests to their patients, and Walgreens made a deal to open Theranos testing centers in their stores. Theranos also formed a secret partnership with Safeway worth $350 million.

Theranos quickly began securing outside partnerships. Capital Blue Cross and Cleveland Clinic signed on to offer Theranos tests to their patients, and Walgreens made a deal to open Theranos testing centers in their stores.
A Theranos testing center inside a Walgreens. Melia Robinson/Tech Insider

Source: Wired, Business Insider

In 2011, Holmes hired her younger brother, Christian, to work at Theranos, although he didn’t have a medical or science background. Christian Holmes spent his early days at Theranos reading about sports online and recruiting his Duke University fraternity brothers to join the company. People dubbed Holmes and his crew the "Frat Pack" and "Therabros."

In 2011, Holmes hired her younger brother, Christian, to work at Theranos, although he didn’t have a medical or science background. Christian Holmes spent his early days at Theranos reading about sports online and recruiting his
Elizabeth Holmes and her brother, Christian. Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

At one point, Holmes was the world's youngest self-made female billionaire with a net worth of around $4.5 billion.

At one point, Holmes was the world's youngest self-made female billionaire with a net worth of around $4.5 billion.
Kimberly White/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize

Source: Forbes

Holmes was obsessed with security at Theranos. She asked anyone who visited the company’s headquarters to sign non-disclosure agreements before being allowed in the building, and had security guards escort visitors everywhere — even to the bathroom.

Holmes was obsessed with security at Theranos. She asked anyone who visited the company’s headquarters to sign non-disclosure agreements before being allowed in the building, and had security guards escort visitors everywhere —
Michael Dalder/Reuters

Holmes hired bodyguards to drive her around in a black Audi sedan. Her nickname was "Eagle One." The windows in her office had bulletproof glass.

Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Around the same time, questions were being raised about Theranos' technology. Ian Gibbons — chief scientist at Theranos and one of the company's first hires — warned Holmes that the tests weren't ready for the public to take, and that there were inaccuracies in the technology. Outside scientists began voicing their concerns about Theranos, too.

Around the same time, questions were being raised about Theranos' technology. Ian Gibbons — chief scientist at Theranos and one of the company's first hires — warned Holmes that the tests weren't ready for the public to take, and
Melia Robinson/Tech Insider

Source: Vanity Fair, Business Insider

By August 2015, the FDA began investigating Theranos, and regulators from the government body that oversees laboratories found "major inaccuracies" in the testing Theranos was doing on patients.

By August 2015, the FDA began investigating Theranos, and regulators from the government body that oversees laboratories found "major inaccuracies" in the testing Theranos was doing on patients.
Mike Segar/Reuters

Source: Vanity Fair

By October 2015, Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou published his investigation into Theranos's struggles with its technology. Carreyrou's reporting sparked the beginning of the company's downward spiral.

By October 2015, Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou published his investigation into Theranos's struggles with its technology. Carreyrou's reporting sparked the beginning of the company's downward spiral.
Shutterstock

Source: Wall Street Journal

Carreyrou found that Theranos' blood-testing machine, named Edison, couldn't give accurate results, so Theranos was running its samples through the same machines used by traditional blood-testing companies.

Carreyrou found that Theranos' blood-testing machine, named Edison, couldn't give accurate results, so Theranos was running its samples through the same machines used by traditional blood-testing companies.
Carlos Osorio/AP

Source: Wall Street Journal

Holmes appeared on CNBC's "Mad Money" shortly after the WSJ published its story to defend herself and Theranos. "This is what happens when you work to change things, and first they think you're crazy, then they fight you, and then all of a sudden you change the world," Holmes said.

Carreyrou's first article dropped that October, revealing the company's struggles to develop its blood-testing technology. That day, Holmes was attending Harvard Medical School's board of fellows meeting as a new member. Holmes

Source: CNBC

By 2016, the FDA, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and SEC were all looking into Theranos.

By 2016, the FDA, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and SEC were all looking into Theranos.
Getty

Source: Wall Street Journal, Wired

In July 2016, Holmes was banned from the lab-testing industry for two years. By October, Theranos had shut down its lab operations and wellness centers.

Later in October, Holmes was scheduled to speak at a conference hosted by The Journal. Holmes went on stage to defend her company, which she kept up for several weeks on TV and at various conferences.
Mike Blake/Reuters

Source: Business Insider

In March 2018, Theranos, Holmes, and Balwani were charged with "massive fraud" by the SEC. Holmes agreed to give up financial and voting control of the company, pay a $500,000 fine, and return 18.9 million shares of Theranos stock. She also isn't allowed to be the director or officer of a publicly traded company for 10 years.

The disgraced founder of Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes.
The disgraced founder of Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes. Jeff Chiu/AP

Source: Business Insider

Despite the charges, Holmes was allowed to stay on as CEO of Theranos, since it's a private company. The company had been hanging on by a thread, and Holmes wrote to investors asking for more money to save Theranos. "In light of where we are, this is no easy ask," Holmes wrote.

Despite the charges, Holmes was allowed to stay on as CEO of Theranos, since it's a private company. The company had been hanging on by a thread, and Holmes wrote to investors asking for more money to save Theranos. "In light of
Kimberly White/Getty Images for Fortune

Source: Business Insider

In Theranos' final days, Holmes reportedly got a Siberian husky puppy named Balto that she brought into the office. However, the dog wasn't potty trained, and would go to the bathroom inside the company's office and during meetings.

In Theranos' final days, Holmes reportedly got a Siberian husky puppy named Balto that she brought into the office. However, the dog wasn't potty trained, and would go to the bathroom inside the company's office and during

Source: Vanity Fair

In June 2018, Theranos announced that Holmes was stepping down as CEO. On the same day, the Department of Justice announced that a federal grand jury had charged Holmes, along with Balwani, with nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

In June 2018, Theranos announced that Holmes was stepping down as CEO. On the same day, the Department of Justice announced that a federal grand jury had charged Holmes, along with Balwani, with nine counts of wire fraud and two
Jamie McCarthy / Getty

Source: Business Insider, CNBC

In September 2018, Theranos sent an email to shareholders announcing that the company was shutting down. Theranos reportedly said it planned to spend the next few months repaying creditors with its remaining resources.

In September 2018, Theranos sent an email to shareholders announcing that the company was shutting down. Theranos reportedly said it planned to spend the next few months repaying creditors with its remaining resources.
Thomson Reuters

Source: Wall Street Journal

Holmes is now reportedly engaged to Billy Evans, the heir to hospitality company Evans Hotel Group. She reportedly wears his MIT "signet ring" on a chain around her neck, and the couple posts photos on Instagram together. They reportedly live together in San Francisco in a luxury apartment.

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is engaged and living in a luxury apartment with her hotel-heir fiancé, William 'Billy' Evans
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes had a right-hand man who stayed mainly out of the headlines. Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

Source: Vanity Fair, Daily Mail

Holmes and Balwani have pleaded not guilty to the federal charges, and are both due back in court on April 22. Each of them could face up to 20 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine plus restitution for each charge, the government has said.

Holmes and Balwani have pleaded not guilty to the federal charges, and are both due back in court on April 22. Each of them could face up to 20 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine plus restitution for each charge, the government
Former Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes leaves the Robert F. Peckham U.S. Federal Court on January 14, 2019 in San Jose, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

Maya Kosoff contributed to an earlier version of this story.

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