Who is Elizabeth Holmes? It’s the question everyone is asking as the trial of the disgraced tech mogul concluded in California this week.
Back in 2015, the story of Elizabeth Holmes and her health technology company Theranos dominated headlines around the world. The company made promises to create accessible and fast blood testing, potentially saving thousands of lives. In turn, the founders made billions of dollars. But after an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, it all came tumbling down.
And much like other events that rock the world, like the story behind Olivia Coleman’s Landscapers drama, the scandal has been made into an award-winning documentary.
Who is Elizabeth Holmes?
Elizabeth Holmes was a businesswoman and founder of Theranos, a start-up health technology company once valued at $9 billion (£6.5 million).
Holmes claimed the technology used by Theranos could detect diseases, including cancer, with just a few drops of blood. The idea was for small devices to be installed in supermarkets and local stores in the US, allowing people to self-administer faster, inexpensive and less-intrusive blood tests.
The idea wowed Silicone Valley and Holmes brought in almost $900 million from investors such as media tycoon Rupert Murdoch and billionaire Larry Ellison.
But the invention didn’t actually work. In 2015, the Wall Street Journal revealed that Theranos’ testing had huge inaccuracies. They discovered that the company was actually performing tests using traditional blood testing methods and outsourcing laboratory work.
Despite initially denying the accusations made by the WSJ, Holmes stepped down as CEO of Theranos just three years after the revelation. And in 2018, alongside the company’s former president Ramesh Balwani (who she alleges abuse), Holmes was charged with criminal fraud, having allegedly misled investors and deliberately making false claims about the effectiveness of the blood testing system.
On January 4 2022, Holmes was found guilty on four of 11 charges of fraud. Each one carries a prison sentence of 20 years – although sentencing hasn’t been carried out yet.
The trial lasted for three months in total and jurors required seven days of deliberation before delivering their verdict.
Holmes founded Theranos in 2003, when she was just 19 years old. She dropped out of Stanford University to found the company on the back of her tuition money before raising more than $700 million in investment money. After being compared to the likes of Steve Jobs, Forbes named her the youngest self-made billionaire in the world in 2014.
The sentencing will take place next week.
Is the Theranos documentary on Netflix?
No, unfortunately the documentary about Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes is not available to watch on Netflix in the UK.
Academy Award winner Alex Gibney created The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicone Valley in 2019. It investigates the rise and fall of Theranos through exclusive footage and testimonies from insiders at the company. It uncovers how such a scheme could have been carried out and who is really responsible for it.
However, there are multiple films about Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos coming out soon.
Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia!) plays the disgraced tech mogul in a new Hulu drama. Coming to the service this year, The Dropout will be a miniseries available in the US.
While rival Apple Original Films will cover the events that unfolded in a movie called Bad Blood. Directed and written by Don’t Look Up’s Adam McKay, the film stars Jennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games) as Holmes.
Where to watch Theranos documentary
The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicone Valley is available to watch on NOW and Amazon.
To view the documentary on NOW, you’ll need to sign up for a subscription to the Entertainment package which costs £9.99 per month starting with a 7-day free trial. Other popular shows from 2021 are also available to stream on the service, including Sex and The City reboot And Just Like That….
The documentary is also available to rent or buy on Amazon.
Future films covering the Theranos scandal are likely to also appear on streaming services such as Apple TV.