🩸A Start-Up Goes Down
How far can a CEO/Founder go in selling their vision? How rosy is too rosy a picture to paint? These questions were at the heart of the Elizabeth Holmes trial which reached a verdict after four-months of testimony and some 50 hours of jury deliberation. Holmes was found guilty on 4 counts: 3 for wire fraud and 1 for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The former CEO of Theranos may face a maximum sentence of 20 years per count, though likely less.
Holmes founded biotech start-up Theranos when she was 19, and attracted such investors as the Walton family, the Coxes, Henry Kissinger, and others with her "famously charismatic" personality, notes NPR.
The 4 counts Holmes was found guilty of involved very large investors including Brian Grossman.
No date has been set yet for Holmes's sentencing, and her business partner, Sunny Balwani, faces his own trial in the coming weeks.
The Valley's Reckoning?
Will this change how Silicon Valley operates? "When Silicon Valley entrepreneurs tell tales about their vision for changing the world, so long as they really are talking about something that is a vision, they’re going to continue, I think, to be OK in a criminal sense," Adam Lashinsky told Marketplace. "If they lie about something that’s going on right now, that’s where they’re going to get into trouble. That’s what happened to Elizabeth Holmes."
Holmes will very likely appeal the verdict and her legal saga will continue. Meanwhile, the DOJ could retry her on counts that the jury remained hung on. Whatever the final result, it sure feels like Silicon Valley is breathing a sigh of relief rather than learning any lessons.