Elizabeth Holmes is the founder and CEO of Theranos, a health and technology startup, and the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world. Her company pioneered blood testing technology in diagnostic labs.
A native of Washington, D.C., she became interested in computer programming in her high school years. It was then she started her first business selling C++ compilers to Chinese universities. Holmes was a President’s Scholar at Stanford University, eventually dropping out of Stanford to pursue funding for her vision of a consumer healthcare technology company. She used what would have been her tuition money to jumpstart the fundraising.
Tackling the worlds of science, technology and entrepreneurship, Holmes raised $6 million to fund Theranos, which set out to improve blood testing accuracy and pioneer new and improved blood testing technology. Among Holmes’ accomplishments, she was featured in Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year and 40 Under 40 lists, named one of TIME’s Most Influential People in the World in 2015, and was the youngest person ever to receive the Horatio Alger Award in that same year.
A persevering spirit and a determination to succeed have driven Holmes from a very young age. She decided she wanted to change the world when she was a mere nine years old. That year, in a letter to her father she explained that she wanted to do something that the world didn’t know was possible. That drive and ambition has stayed with Holmes’ throughout her life and career.
The needle-free blood testing product Holmes pioneered, has the potential to transform the health care industry. It’s lower blood collection and testing costs can lead to more comprehensive tests being performed and more preventative medical treatments being taken. According to Holmes, Theranos’ is “making it possible to do tests on tiny samples; any cancer patient, any child, any elderly person whose veins collapse will tell you not having to have their blood drawn that way is a big deal.”
Despite a somewhat recent series of unfortunate setbacks in her startup, Elizabeth continues to forge ahead in the field of healthcare technology. She started off 2017 by working to develop a new tabletop blood-testing product. With staunch supporters by her side and her team working on new advances in the field on a daily basis, Holmes continues to sit at the helm of Theranos. This new product, called the miniLab, speaks to the future plans and projected growth of the company.
Each of us is going to leave a mark on this world. Everything we experience, every tragedy we survive, every lesson we learn contribute to the women we eventually become. Elizabeth Holmes fell in love with science as a young girl. Her innate grit and dogged determination keep her forging ahead. She is paving the way for women to make scientific and technological innovations that have the potential to change the world. “When I thought about having the greatest impact with my life, I thought about all the times people lose loved ones because diseases weren’t detected early enough. I thought, ‘I can play a role there.’”