StoryThe trial of the founder of the medical start-up Theranos, accused of having made a fortune in the United States by defrauding investors and patients, ended on December 17. The former feminist tech icon tried to exonerate himself by presenting himself as a victim of sexual violence under the influence of an ex-lover and partner.
He was his ” Tiger “. She was his ” Queen “. Between 2011 and 2016, they exchanged 594 text messages containing the word love, ” love “. The prosecutor read some of them at the hearing. “You are my breeze in the desert, she said. My water. My ocean. ” He replied that she was “The tigress of God” and that two of them would be « invincibles ». Between two impassioned messages, Elizabeth Holmes and Sunny Balwani, the couple at the head of the biotechnology start-up Theranos, raised millions of dollars from investors ready to believe that Silicon Valley had miraculous powers, including that of revolutionizing the blood testing industry. From a few drops taken from a simple prick with the thumb, the laboratory made a point of giving the complete results of the blood count of the patients, and this in an almost instantaneous way. A promise that he has never been able to fulfill.
It was in 2014-2015. Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, was indeed the queen of the moment. Silicon Valley’s first female billionaire (excluding heiresses). One of the few CEOs in a macho universe. Young ! Obviously brilliant: she had dropped her studies at Stanford in the second year to devote herself to her invention. The media were enthusiastic: the world of start-ups was therefore not held only by “bros” (young engineers). A woman, finally, took rank among the bosses of “unicorns”, companies whose capitalization exceeds 1 billion dollars (890 million euros). Elizabeth let her legend be spoken and written. She had a phobia of syringes, hence the idea of doing without them in the blood tests. At 9, she wanted to invent something that would help humanity. At the age of 11, she announced her plan for the future: ” Billionaire “.
Elizabeth Holmes was the epitome of the « girl boss », women who are assaulting power in companies. Overflowing ambition, barely less confidence, limited patience. “Where there is a glass ceiling, there is an iron lady just behind”, she wrote on Twitter in August 2015, on the occasion of Women’s Equality Day, the day commemorating women’s right to vote. « Le “miniLab” [la machine à tests conçue par Theranos] is the most important thing that mankind has ever made, she proclaimed to the staff gathered for the 2011 Christmas party at a Silicon Valley winery. If you don’t agree, just go. ”
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La chute d’Elizabeth Holmes, « girl boss » de la Silicon Valley