The Elizabeth Holmes Trial is Finally Here

5 things to know as the Theranos founder makes her debut in court

Emily Primeaux
4 min readSep 3, 2021


Photo by Krista Kennell/Fortune Most Powerful Women via Flickr

“The company dominated news cycles from its inception in 2003 to its epic downfall beginning in 2015. Theranos, the blood-testing startup once valued at $9 billion, fell from grace after allegations came to light that its technology was a fraud.”

This is how I started my 2019 Fraud Magazine cover story about Theranos and Tyler Shultz, the whistleblower who helped uncover the fraud at the Silicon-valley technology company. And now, after delays due to Covid-19 pandemic-related complications and the birth of her first child, Elizabeth Holmes, the former founder and CEO of the now-defunct blood-testing startup, finally made her debut in court.

Like many others I was sucked into the drama of the story as I researched how Theranos fell from grace. Wall Street Journal investigative journalist John Carreyrou tells it best in his book, “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup” and if you want play-by-play coverage of the trial, he will be detailing the spectacle in his podcast, “Bad Blood: The Final Chapter.”

While I may not have the same insider knowledge that Carreyrou does, I did sit down with Shultz for a couple hours in June 2019 to talk about how he unearthed the fraud at Theranos. I’m just as invested in the outcome of this trial as I would be with any other high-profile murder or fraud trial.

Here is a primer to get you caught up as the trial resumes in federal court in San Jose.

In 2003, Holmes, a 19-year-old former Stanford student, started a blood-testing company called Theranos. After raising more than $900 million from venture capitalists and private investors, Theranos would quickly rise to prominence, resulting in a $9 billion valuation at its peak in 2013 and 2014. Holmes, the company’s CEO, claimed Theranos’ technology would streamline blood-testing at a much lower cost than traditional analyses.

  1. The blood-testing device: Theranos’ signature blood-testing machine, nicknamed “Edison” after the famous inventor, was designed to pull a few drops of blood via a finger prick stored in what Theranos coined a “nanotainer” — a vast change from the usual multiple test tubes of…



Emily Primeaux

World traveler, writer, editor, kitty-handler, missing the European life