Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is on trial.Silicon Valley is paying attention


if you need To convince Elizabeth Holmes to be a sentimental person and not a bloodthirsty villain, just look at her text messages. “To me, you are the breeze in the desert,” she gave to her business partner and boyfriend Ramesh Balwani in 2015. “My water. And the ocean.” Even when Wall Street Journal Reporter John Carreyrou is investigating her medical testing company Theranos, but Holmes still has love in her heart. “Thinking of you this morning,” she texted Balwani in June of that year. Balwani reminded her to stay focused: Theranos was under attack.

The six-page text message is part of the first documents of the Holmes trial, which began this week. More than three years ago, she was accused of defrauding investors as well as doctors and patients about Theranos’ abilities. She has pleaded not guilty. In the next few months, the defense’s task was to humanize Holmes and show the jury a young and ambitious entrepreneur, but she made some mistakes in the pursuit of success. The government will try to persuade the jurors that she became a billionaire at the expense of the health of her clients and endangered her investors in the process.

Silicon Valley will pay attention. This landmark case examines a company, a founder-but in doing so, it will have a strong impact on some norms of entrepreneurial culture, including expecting founders to pursue their reckless determination idea. As Chief Prosecutor Robert Leach said in his opening speech on Wednesday, Elizabeth Holmes has become “one of the most famous CEOs in Silicon Valley and the world. But the appearance of success in Theranos Next, there are also major issues in the making.” So, the question for the jury is to determine when the start-up’s swagger becomes a fraud.

Eric Bahn, co-founder of Hustle Fund, an early-stage venture capital firm, said: “I am very happy that Silicon Valley’s’pretend to be true’ slogan has been questioned.” To investors, this is almost like a rally cry.”

At the same time, Bahn said, he worried that the focus on Holmes might turn into a stricter scrutiny of female founders. They, Learn Have show, It has been difficult to raise funds in Silicon Valley. “I have heard an anecdote about a female health care founder being asked what she thinks of Holmes and how the founder feels she has been compared.” Recent stories exist New York Times It was found that many other female founders faced comparisons with Sherlock Holmes.

The story of Holmes has left an indelible mark on Silicon Valley and American culture. For investors and the media, she is a fascinating character—a blonde baritone in a black turtleneck sweater—and her downfall has attracted attention as much as her rise: hundreds of magazine articles, a best-selling book Books, a podcast series, several documentaries, an upcoming TV series starring Amanda Seyfried. As a result, the first week in court was mainly spent on the arduous task of selecting the jury. The jury was not immersed in the report and could give a fair opinion.

The jurors were also asked whether they had suffered domestic abuse because the defense plan argued that Holmes had suffered “a decade of psychological abuse” from Balwani. (Balwani denied any allegations of abuse. He was also charged with fraud and pleaded not guilty. His trial is scheduled to begin in January.) According to reports, about half of the jury raised their hands. New York Times.


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