The Hulu series The Dropout follows the story of Elizabeth Holmes, the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire. Holmes made her money through her health technology company Theranos. The company claimed that their machines could test for a variety of illnesses with only a few drops of blood. However, this revolutionary machine never actually worked. Theranos is now defunct and Holmes was recently convicted on several counts of fraud. Is the former billionaire businesswoman still wealthy?
‘The Dropout’ tells the story of Elizabeth Holmes, who was once the youngest female self-made billionaire
Amanda Seyfried plays Elizabeth Holmes in The Dropout. The series depicts Holmes dropping out of Stanford with big dreams of starting her own company. Holmes hoped to make healthcare accessible to every person in America. In the series, Holmes also says that she wants to be a billionaire.
Holmes’ company made it shockingly far. Despite its inaccurate test results, the Theranos blood-testing device, called the Edison, actually made its way into quite a few Walgreens stores. During its heyday, Theranos was valued at a whopping $9 billion. Forbes named Holmes the world’s youngest self-made woman billionaire in 2014. They reported her net worth at $4.5 billion at the time. Holmes was only 30 years old.
When did Theranos dissolve?
Theranos’ success did not last long. Only four years after Holmes was named the youngest self-made female billionaire, her company would shut down for good. This happened in part thanks to former Theranos employees Tyler Shultz and Erika Cheung. The pair worked with John Carreyrou of The Wall Street Journal to expose the truth about Theranos’ machines.
According to CNN Business, Safeway had invested $350 million into eventually building clinics centered around Theranos’ blood tests. However, the company reportedly looked to end its relationship with Theranos shortly after The Wall Street Journal released its findings.
Soon Theranos began to face lawsuits from Walgreens and other investors. The company completely dissolved by 2018 and Holmes faced 11 federal charges. CNN Business reports that in January 2022 Holmes was convicted of one count of conspiracy to defraud investors as well as three counts of wire fraud. She has not yet been sentenced but faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
In the midst of Theranos’ scandals, Forbes revised Holmes’ net worth to $0 in June 2016. However, Holmes married William “Billy” Evans in 2019. Her new husband is quite well off. In fact, Evan is the heir to Evans Hotel Group, which was founded by his grandparents in 1995, Stylecaster reports.
Theranos blood tests negatively affected real patients
It’s easy to get lost in all the dollar signs surrounding Theranos, but the company’s faulty tests affected the lives of real people. The Dropout has yet to fully explore this side of the story but it might in upcoming episodes. Multiple people who received inaccurate test results from Theranos’ technology were plaintiffs in a federal class-action lawsuit against Theranos and Walgreens in 2018, USA Today reports.
According to the outlet, the lawsuit stated that Theranos’ Edison test incorrectly diagnosed one woman with a thyroid condition called Hashimoto’s disease. The lawsuit states that this inaccurate diagnosis caused the woman to make unnecessary lifestyle changes and medical appointments based on a disease that she did not have. This woman was far from the only person to receive incorrect results from Theranos’ tests.
New episodes of The Dropout are available to stream Thursdays on Hulu.