Meet Elizabeth Holmes: Youngest Self-Made Female Billionaire


While trying to breathe and not be at all jealous with my Methuselah self, I would like to introduce you to Elizabeth Holmes, the 31 year old founder and CEO of Theranos – a healthcare-technology company that is worth $9billion while Ms Holmes herself has a net worth of $4.5 billion.

Theranos has a new approach to blood testing; its goal is to make clinical testing cheaper and faster. The company wants to conduct blood tests for health issues through a single finger stick rather than by having to draw vials of blood in a doctor’s office. Theranos has drawn scepticism from the scientific community in part because Theranos is cagey about how its tests actually work. But for now, Holmes is on top of the world. Already, her blood tests are being offered in some drugstores like Walgreens.

Elizabeth Holmes was born in February 1984 to mother, Noel Anne, who was a Congressional committee staffer and father, Christian Holmes, who worked for government agencies like USAID. Her family moved around a lot when she was a child – from DC to Houston to China. At the age of 9, the young Elizabeth wrote in a letter to her father: “What I really want out of life is to discover something new, something that mankind didn’t know was possible to do”. As a teenager living in China, she started her own business selling C++ compilers to Chinese schools.

Hian. At 9, I was drawing stick men and as a teenager, I was trying to scale fence out of the boarding house to go and drink (eat?) pepper soup at local joint. I guess that’s why she is a billionaire and I’m a paid tafia. But, I digress.

Although she was inspired by her great-great-grandfather Christian Holmes, a surgeon, to go into medicine, but she soon discovered that she was scared of needles, which would later influence her decision to start Theranos.

She went on to Stanford University to study Chemical Engineering. As a freshman, she became a President’s Scholar, an honour which came with a $3,000 stipend to go towards a research project. As a sophomore, Holmes went to one of her professors, Channing Robertson, and said to him “Let’s start a company.” With his blessing, she founded Real-Time Cures, later changing the company’s name to Theranos. A semester after starting the company, she dropped out of school to focus full-time on the company, working out of the basement of a college house.

The way Theranos works:

Here at Viva Naija! we love to celebrate success, ambition, and focus, but it takes real effort and determination to ACHIEVE, so it was so interesting to read this:

According to The New Yorker, Holmes “can quote Jane Austen by heart, [but] no longer devotes time to novels or friends, doesn’t date, doesn’t own a television, and hasn’t taken a vacation in 10 years … She is a vegan, and several times a day she drinks a pulverized concoction of cucumber, parsley, kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, and celery.”

Could you do this? Could you be this? Could you sacrifice of yourself to be who you feel you were created to be with this same single-mindedness? Hmmmm….

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