Theranos Founder's Net Worth Shrinks to Zero

Jamie Hartford 1

June 1, 2016

2 Min Read
Theranos Founder's Net Worth Shrinks to Zero

Once the darling of Silicon Valley, Elizabeth Holmes has become a pariah since allegations that Theranos's tests are inaccurate came to light.

Jamie Hartford

What a difference a year makes. In 2015, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was hailed by Forbes as America's richest self-made woman, topping a list that included the likes of Beyoncé and Sheryl Sandberg. Now, just 12 months later, Forbes estimates that her $4.5 billion net worth has evaporated to nothing.

In a new report, Forbes staffer Matthew Herper explained that the site's new valuation of Holmes's fortune (or lack thereof) is based on her 50% stake in Theranos, the finger-prick blood-testing company she founded in 2003.

Theranos was once among the most revered Silicon Valley startups, but this past October a Wall Street Journal exposé called into question the accuracy of the company's tests. Since then, accusations have snowballed. In January, a CMS report called hematology testing practices at Theranos's Newark, CA-based lab "deficient" and said they could "pose immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety." Two months later, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that Theranos's blood tests could not match the accuracy of more conventional tests. Another Wall Street Journal article alleged the company knew its technology was questionable but still used it on patients. CMS has since reported that the company failed 87% of its quality-control tests for one hormone test.

As a result, Theranos's value has plummeted from an implied $9 billion in 2014 to an estimated $800 million today, dragging Holmes's net worth down along with it, according to Forbes.  

"At such a low valuation, Holmes' stake is essentially worth nothing," Herper wrote.

In addition to this latest blow, Theranos is also facing a federal criminal investigation. As reported in April, the U.S. Attorney's office for the Northern District of California and the SEC are each looking into allegations that the privately held company misled investors and the government regarding its blood tests and operations. Add to that CMS's threat to fine the firm or revoke its certification for testing human samples plus a consumer lawsuit Theranos is facing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Califiornia, and it's likely that money problems aren't Holmes's biggest concern at the moment.

Jamie Hartford is director of medical content for UBM Americas. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @MedtechJamie.

[image courtesy of THERANOS]

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