This is about being able to do good.” Elizabeth Holmes
Elizabeth Holmes, only last year named the youngest self-made female billionaire in the wold, is the founder of Theranos technology. It’s a blood-testing technology that allows people to provide blood samples simply with a painless prick of a finger, and in a way that is convenient, cost-effective (a fraction of the price of commercial labs) and quick; the premise is that individuals have the information they need to empower them to make decisions about their health. The technology is essentially a method of blood testing, but it is blood testing that will identify a host of infections using microscopic amounts of blood, is transportable and can therefore be taken to underdeveloped parts of the world. Theranos is a disruptive technology that aims to revolutionise healthcare (certainly the diagnostic lab industry) much in the same way as Amazon changed retail or Apple the mobile phone.
But what else do we know about this extraordinary young woman? Below are seven interesting facts about the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire.
1. She's very young and very rich
Holmes is single and 31 years old, with a net worth of $4.6billion
2. She's a university dropout
In common with several phenomenally successful people, Holmes dropped out of university (Stanford) as a sophomore, deciding to focus her efforts on changing the world instead by pursuing her vision of healthcare as a basic human right.
3. She was only 19 when it all started
She founded her company, Theranos, at the tender age of 19. The name is a marriage of the words ‘therapy’ and ‘diagnosis’. Her impressive board of directors comprises several former government heavyweights such as former US Secretary of State, George Shultz.
4. Her company has been valued at $9 billiion
She used money saved for college to found her company, Theranos. Holmes managed to raise $400million from venture capitalists and the company has been valued at $9billiion. She has a 50% stake in the company.
5. She's the new Steve Jobs
Because of her vision, intellect and ability to conceive technology that can have a global impact, she is often compared with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.
6. Her motives are largely altruistic
She truly wants to make a positive difference in the world and be an agent of change. One of her board members, the former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, as reported in Fortune, said this of her: “There is no performance associated with her. I have seen no sign that financial gain is of any interest to her.”
7. Leadership Runs In Her Family
Her great-great-grandfather was a decorated World War 1 veteran, engineer and inventor who “ultimately worked himself to death”. Hopefully such a tragic end to life will not befall Holmes, who became a vegan and dropped coffee in favour of strictly vegetable juices to get her through her long “16-hour days and 7-day weeks”.
Holmes is particularly impressive because she has managed to achieve what few women achieve: women are chiefly celebrated for their humanitarian work or the sacrifices they have made for others; Holmes has managed to achieve the incredible feat of combining her significant professional achievements with solutions that will benefit the greater good through the potentially lifesaving Theranos technology.