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Tech visionary and genius Elizabeth Holmes is changing the medical landscape through her biotech company Theranos and its revolutionary laboratory testing methods. The world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, Elizabeth seeks to make medical testing more accessible to ordinary people so that they can detect diseases earlier, get the care they need faster, and avoid having to say good-bye to loved ones all too soon.

When her uncle died of cancer, in part because of a late diagnosis, Elizabeth began to contemplate approaches to making medical exams easier and more efficient. After studying chemical engineering at Stanford, she dropped out her sophomore year to dedicate herself full time to developing biotechnology and building her company Theranos which she launched at age 19. Over a decade she raised $400 million in venture capital while she and her team fine-tuned their trade secrets.

Today Theranos offers 200 tests with just a prick of a finger and is authorized to operate in all 50 states. Elizabeth holds 18 U.S. patents and 66 non-U.S. patents. She has been profiled in Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” ranked no. 1 on BusinessInsider’s Silicon Valley 100 List, and featured on Fortune’s “40 under 40” list.

Full Profile

Elizabeth Holmes—the daughter of a U.S. government aid worker and a congressional committee staffer—grew up in Washington, D.C., and Houston and spent time in China during high school. While there, she decided to start a business selling computer software to universities in Asia. After Holmes returned to the U.S., she pursued a degree in electrical and chemical engineering at Stanford University. Elizabeth started Theranos (found and CEO) in 2003 (at age 19) after dropping out of Stanford, where she had studied microfluidics and nanotechnology.


Theranos, is transforming lab diagnostics – a single drop of blood (or any other fluid) can be used for multiple tests at a fraction of current costs. Theranos’ valuation of over $9 billion, has made Elizabeth the world’s youngest female billionaire.

Elizabeth’s uncle died from cancer because it wasn’t caught early enough, motivating her to develop a way to potentially detect diseases earlier. Elizabeth dropped out of Stanford University her sophomore year to launch Theranos. Faster, cheaper and less painful than other clinical tests, it can quickly test a drop of blood at a fraction of the price of commercial labs, and can run up to 70 different tests.

Elizabeth envisions empowered patients who can take control of their health through real-time diagnosis and monitoring, with testing that has open and transparent pricing schemes. Among her board of advisors are a former senator, general, and secretary of state.

“I grew up in a family of people who wanted to make a difference in the world,” says Elizabeth. She is succeeding! Recently she became the youngest member ever named to the prestigious Horatio Alger Association, which recognizes grit and drive. She was the only woman on stage with a lot of older white men. “This is true, I was,” Elizabeth said. “But what was so wonderful about it is that these young girls who are in the audience connect to me as nothing but living proof that their dreams are possible.”


Elizabeth Holmes Speaker Videos Back to top

TEDMED Talk


Elizabeth Holmes stresses the need for individuals to have faster access to medical exams and information about their own body without having to worry about excessive fees or the scheduling hassle that often comes with a physician referring a patient to a laboratory. She notes that in many cases by the time patients show enough symptoms to prompt doctors to order tests, their condition has already advanced to the point that is more difficult and costly to treat. On the other hand, between 40 to 60% of people who are referred to exams don’t get them because of fees, fear, or other barriers.

“By making the cost of testing so low that any combination of tests can be run at the same cost that those tests would have cost individually before, it becomes possible to engage individuals in the testing process in such a way that they get the information they need at the time it matters,” Elizabeth states, illustrating the possibilities created by breakthroughs in technology, specifically the finger prick method of collecting blood samples, the trademark of her billion dollar company Theranos.

Commencement Address


Young CEO, Elizabeth Holmes reminds us that our ability to achieve our goals and dreams comes from within. “Dream big. Do not be afraid to go and do the hard things in this world,” she urges. “To achieve them all we need is already within us.”

Citing her own experience building her company from scratch, Elizabeth points out that there will always be rough spots in the journey to build a purposeful life, but if that we are doing something that we truly love, we will ride out the difficulties and continue strong on our path. “At the end of the day when we look back at our lives nothing matters more than knowing we’ve done something to enrich the lives of other people, especially those we don’t know,” she asserts.

Interview






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TEDMED Talk


Elizabeth Holmes stresses the need for individuals to have faster access to medical exams and information about their own body without having to worry about excessive fees or the scheduling hassle that often comes with a physician referring a patient to a laboratory. She notes that in many cases by the time patients show enough symptoms to prompt doctors to order tests, their condition has already advanced to the point that is more difficult and costly to treat. On the other hand, between 40 to 60% of people who are referred to exams don’t get them because of fees, fear, or other barriers.

“By making the cost of testing so low that any combination of tests can be run at the same cost that those tests would have cost individually before, it becomes possible to engage individuals in the testing process in such a way that they get the information they need at the time it matters,” Elizabeth states, illustrating the possibilities created by breakthroughs in technology, specifically the finger prick method of collecting blood samples, the trademark of her billion dollar company Theranos.

Commencement Address


Young CEO, Elizabeth Holmes reminds us that our ability to achieve our goals and dreams comes from within. “Dream big. Do not be afraid to go and do the hard things in this world,” she urges. “To achieve them all we need is already within us.”

Citing her own experience building her company from scratch, Elizabeth points out that there will always be rough spots in the journey to build a purposeful life, but if that we are doing something that we truly love, we will ride out the difficulties and continue strong on our path. “At the end of the day when we look back at our lives nothing matters more than knowing we’ve done something to enrich the lives of other people, especially those we don’t know,” she asserts.

Interview