Youngest female billionaire
Elizabeth Holmes (born February 3, 1984 in Washington, D.C.), is an American entrepreneur who founded and ran the medical diagnostic company Theranos Inc. from 2003 to 2018. She was dubbed the world’s youngest self-made woman billionaire in 2014, but by June 2016, estimates of her net worth had plummeted due to serious questions about Theranos’s business practices and her 50% stake in the company.
Holmes grew up in Washington, D.C., and Houston, Texas, the daughter of a US government aid worker and a congressional committee staffer, and spent time in China during high school. She started a business selling computer software to Asian universities while there. After returning to the United States, Holmes attended Stanford University to study electrical and chemical engineering.
She left Stanford during her sophomore year to establish Theranos, a company dedicated to delivering minimally invasive laboratory testing services, where she served as the firm’s founder (2003) and subsequently as CEO. In 2014, Theranos released its initial product, a laboratory testing method that claimed to conduct more than 1,000 medical tests on an individual after only a few drops of blood were collected, a technology capable of changing medical data collection.
Between 2003 and 2014, Holmes expanded Theranos by acquiring funds from investors, constructing infrastructure, and developing the company’s patented methods in secrecy. Walgreen Co., which operated over 8,000 drugstores in the United States, stated in 2013 that it had teamed with Theranos to build wellness centers within its Walgreens pharmacies. By 2014, Theranos had performed more than 200 diagnostic tests, was licensed to operate in nearly all 50 states, and was certified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal authority in charge of medical laboratories.