25 Fascinating Elizabeth Holmes Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

Posted by , Updated on November 21, 2023

There are probably more than 25 fascinating facts about Elizabeth Holmes, but for the purposes of our list, we’ll keep it at 25.

Elizabeth Holmes had an impossible dream called Theranos she turned into reality, but it was all fake. According to reports, Holmes was the mastermind behind one of the most prolific scams in American history.

Not only did she weave a spellbinding campaign that hooked the average American consumer, but she also took Wall Street by the horns and changed the landscape of Pharmaceuticals.

With her wide-eyed, rarely-blinking gaze, and deep voice, Holmes commanded attention and she had it. And, she used it to manipulated an entire industry and duped hundreds of employees.

Intrigued? We are. So, without further ado, we present 25 fascinating facts about Elizabeth Holmes!


She was born on February 3, 1984, in Washington DC.


She hated Needles


One reason behind the development of Theranos: Holmes’ fear of getting pricked. Interestingly, Holme’s mother and grandmother were said to have fainted at the sight of needles, so the fear apparently ran in her family.


A Powerhouse Family


Holmes’ father, Christian Rasmus Holmes IV, was a vice president at Enron. Her mother Noel Anne Daoust, was a Congressional committee staffer. Interestingly, Holmes’ great-grandfather, Christian Rasmus Holmes, was a Danish physician. He was married to Bettie Fleischmann who was the daughter of Charles Louis Fleischmann, the founder of Fleischmann’s Yeast. Dr. Holmes also founded the Cincinnati General Hospital and the University of Cincinnati’s medical school.


Holmes attended St. John's School in Houston.


An Incredible Letter


At the tender age of nine, Holmes already knew what she wanted to do for the world. In a letter Holmes wrote to her father, she said, “What I really want out of life is to discover something new, something that mankind didn’t know was possible to do.”


She Changes Her Voice


Amazingly, Holmes would speak in public using a low baritone voice. However, former colleagues have revealed her voice is actually a few octaves higher. Perhaps she felt using a lower voice commanded more attention (which it probably did), and placed her in a more powerful position than if she had used her own voice.


She Idolized Steve Jobs


Holmes admired Steve Job and emulated his style as much as she could. Her wardrobe consisted of a black turtle neck, a black blazer, and black trousers. Not surprisingly, during the height of Therano’s success, Holmes was recruiting employees from Apple to work for her.


The Meaning Behind Theranos


Theranas is actually the combination of two words: Therapy and Diagnosis.


A Strict Schedule


It’s no secret Holmes was a workhorse and she loved what she did. Apparently, she only slept four hours a day and worked seven days a week.


She Rarely Blinks


As strange as it seems, many people have said Holmes barely blinked when she had conversations with them. She would keep her eyes locked on them, never blinking as she talked.


She stands at 5'7


She Has One Sibling


Holmes has a younger brother, Christian Holmes V. He was also the product management director at Theranos.


She is Vegan


According to reports, Holmes lived a very strict lifestyle. That included what she ate. She was a vegan and one of her daily meals was “a blended concoction of cucumber, parsley, kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, and celery.”


She Had A Side Business In High School


During high school, the over-achieving Holmes completed three college courses in Mandarin and then opened her own business selling C-compilers to Chinese universities. C-compilers are used to process computer language from one platform to the next.


She Went to Stanford


Aside from being a student at the prestige university, Holmes was also a student researcher and lab assistant in the School of Engineering‘s lab. As bright as her future at Standford was, she dropped out before her sophomore year.


She Was In A Relationship with Her COO


Even though Holmes was only 18, she had a romantic relationship with her 37-year-old COO, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. His connections and experience propelled Holmes to get where she needed to be in terms of funding and building a solid base of her own.


The Company Before Theranos


In 2004, Holmes founded Real-Time Cures in Palo Alto, California. She wanted to, “democratize healthcare” by performing blood tests using only small amounts of blood. The idea was a vast amount of information could be obtained from a single drop of blood. Real-Time Cures was changed to Theranos a few months later.


Stealth Mode


From 2004 to when it made its splashy debut in 2013, Holmes kept Theranos under wraps. The company had no website or press releases for almost 9 years. In 2013, Theranos stepped into the limelight when it revealed a partnership with Walgreens to carry their devices.


Walgreens Fallout


A partnership with Walgreens was huge publicity for Theranos. One of the biggest chains in America was behind its emerging technology. Needless to say, that gave the fledgling startup a big boost. Sadly, by 2016, Walgreens had severed all ties with Holmes and Theranos.


Theranos Had 800 Employees


At the height of Therano’s success, the company had a staggering staff of 800.


She Raised Mega Millions in One Year!


By December of 2004, barely a year after Holmes had founded Theranos, she was able to secure six million in venture capital. By 2010, she had raised more than 92 Million toward Theranos’s growth.


Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire


Holmes made some incredible claims during the height of Theranos’ success. Of course, these lies came back to haunt her when the company collapsed. In one claim, she stated that Theranos technology was being used by the U.S. Department of Defense in combat situations. And, in another fibbing moment, Holmes claimed Theranos had a $100 million revenue stream in 2014. It was as unbelievable as it sounds. That year, the company only made $100,000.


A Bombshell Report


In 2015, Wall Street journalist John Carreyrou’s investigation uncovered serious issues with Theranos. Once the bombshell report became public, the company was done.


Criminal Charges


On June 15, 2018, a federal grand jury indicted Holmes and former Theranos CEO and president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani on nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Holmes and Balwani were alleged to have engaged in two criminal schemes, one to defraud investors, the other to defraud doctors and patients.



Elizabeth Holmes 9

The case is proceeding in the U.S. District Court in San Jose. Holmes and Balwani have pleaded not guilty. They face up to 20 years in prison.