Elizabeth Anne Holmes (born February 3, 1984) is an American entrepreneur. She is the CEO of Theranos, a blood test company, which she founded in 2003 at age 19 while she was a chemical engineering major at Stanford University. The company was originally based on her invention and patent for a way to run 30 common lab tests, on blood obtained via a fingerstick, using microfluidics or “lab-on-a-chip” technology – a much faster and cheaper method than traditional lab testing techniques.
Now, She is ranked No. 1 on the Silicon Valley 100, Business Insider’s list of the most prominent and coolest people in Silicon Valley.
➡ Ranked No. 110 on the Forbes 400 in 2014, She topped the list of America’s Self-Made Women in 2015 with a net worth of $4.7 billion.
➡ She was born in 1984. Considering her already incredible achievements, that in itself is surprising to many.
➡ At just 9 years of age, She wrote in a letter to her father, “What I really want out of life is to discover something new, something that mankind didn’t know was possible to do.”
➡ While still in high school, She completed three college Mandarin courses and sold C compilers to Chinese universities.
➡ She went to Stanford for chemical engineering, and during her time there, filed her first patent (for an advanced drug-delivery patch). She then dropped out of college just before her sophomore year.
➡ She once traveled to Singapore to spend a summer working in the Genome Institute labs on groundbreaking SARS research.
➡ She was exceedingly private in the first 11 years of building her company. She’s made a huge splash since appearing on the cover of Fortune magazine last summer.
➡ Her company name, Theranos, is a combination of the words therapy and diagnose.
➡ Since launching in 2003, Theranos has developed blood tests to help detect dozens of medical conditions, including high cholesterol and cancer, using just a drop or two of blood drawn from a pinprick in your finger.
➡ Part of Holmes’s inspiration came from her aversion to needles; her mother and grandmother even fainted at the sight of needles.
➡ She assembled what can be described as an all-star board of experienced and accomplished people in the corporate world: George Schultz, Bill Perry, Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn, and Bill Frist, among others.
➡ She met Sunny Balwani, who would later become her company’s COO, in Beijing the summer after her senior year of high school, during the time he was getting his MBA from Berkeley.
➡ She is often compared to visionary Steve Jobs and told Mercury News she launched her company after “thinking about what is the greatest change I could make in the world.”
➡ Like Steve Jobs, She wears a daily “uniform” of a black suit with a black cotton turtleneck.
➡ She has set her sights on more than simply dominating the blood-testing market; she wants to create a whole new market called “consumer health technology” that will see consumers more engaged in their health care.
➡ As of last year, She had 84 patents to her name (18 U.S. and 66 non-U.S.).
➡ According to CBS News, She spends every waking hour in her office and doesn’t even own a TV at home.
In March this year, She became the youngest person ever honored as a lifetime member by the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans.
➡ According to The New Yorker, She “can quote Jane Austen by heart, [but] no longer devotes time to novels or friends, doesn’t date, doesn’t own a television, and hasn’t taken a vacation in 10 years … She is a vegan, and several times a day she drinks a pulverized concoction of cucumber, parsley, kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, and celery.”
➡ She abstains from caffeine, limits the amount of time she sleeps, and works seven days a week.
➡ She is notoriously secretive, and while she’s been criticized by industry peers as such, insists she must protect her technology from the prying eyes of competitors.