American businesswoman Elizabeth Holmes has made a bloody fortune. The chief executive and founder of private blood test company Theranos, to be more precise, has brought Holmes’ a fortune of $3.6 billion. What’s truly amazing is that she’s only 32-years-old, and founded the company in 2003 when she was just 20.


In 2015 Forbes listed Holmes — who owns 50% of Theranos — as the world’s youngest self-made billionaire — and reckoned she was worth $4.5 billion.

But Forbes caused a furore this week after they devalued their estimation of Holmes’ wealth to a fat zero.

They claimed they had to revise her worth after information led to claim Holmes revenues were less than $100 million. Still, she’s definitely earning decent money for her age, and certainly not bad going considering Holmes herself has a fear of needles — which is the very lifeline of her wealth.

So ambition and wealth can often come with its pitfalls and scrutiny, and Holmes is clearly not immune. Last year The Wall Street Journal also claimed that Holmes’ company Theranos, is a technology that is not as reliable as it claims to be, while the Arizona Department of Health Services apparently discovered that the company has major issues in the laboratory.

From a successful family, Holmes’ great-great grandfather — who was originally from Denmark — was a decorated First World War veteran, and also a renowned inventor, surgeon, and engineer — and his biography, which Elizabeth read, inspired her to be ambitious and probably contributed to her confidence in her abilities. She certainly has an ability to invent for good reason and to accumulate wealth.

She once said: ’At a relatively early age, I began to believe that building a business was perhaps the greatest opportunity for making an impact, because it's a tool for making a change in the world.’

Yup, lets assume her bank manager didn’t disagree. Her family certainly wouldn’t disagree, as Holmes employs her brother, Christian, as her company’s director of product. He surely earns a decent salary, too. And this is despite the recent claims by Forbes that

‘I think a lot of young people have incredible ideas and incredible insights, but sometimes they wait before they go give their life to something. What I did was just to start a little earlier.’

So while Holmes certainly is successful and probably doesn’t have to worry about simple stuff such as retirement funds, her wealth does appear to have been overestimated and that’s why it’s been brought down peg or two.

Bloomberg summarised it well this week, when they said: ‘your house is a little bit like Elizabeth Holmes’ stock in her own company. On paper it might be worth a lot, and much of that does reflect real value. But if your local housing market crashes, your net worth is in big trouble.’