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Back to Newsletter Vol 3, Issue 01, Feb 2021
Elizabeth Holmes and the Rise and Fall of Theranos Inc.

The case turns the spotlight onto the dark side of entrepreneurship where an entrepreneur is found to have built up a US$ 9 billion company on the foundation of lies and deceit. The startup, Theranos Inc., was widely hailed as a revolutionary company in the field of healthcare, and the entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes was feted as a strong leader who became the youngest self-made female billionaire in the US in 2009. The case raises critical questions on whether such lies by entrepreneurs are a necessary evil to gain legitimacy and can be condoned, or whether startups can be held to the same standards as we now hold the most mature public companies. At Theranos, it turned out that success was built not only on lies and deceit; it was also based on intimidating and victimizing employees and whistle blowers. Moreover, as it operated in the healthcare industry where its products were designed to offer blood testing for medical investigations, false tests put the customers at risk by compromising their health and life.

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