Elizabeth Holmes - Theranos

Elizabeth Holmes is not your ordinary entrepreneur. Ms Holmes has entered the 2014 Forbes 400 list as the youngest self-made female billionaire with an estimated net worth of USD$4.6 billion, owning a 50% stake in her company, Theranos. 

The 31 year old Stanford drop out has reinvented Phlebotemy by inventing the way medical professionals the world over administer blood tests.

Her Advisory Board has been called  'the single most accomplished board in US corporate history' with such members as Henry Kissinger and George Schultz among others and as of 2014, Ms Holmes had "18 US patents and 66 non-US patents in her name."

As a child, she told her father that she wanted to change the world - but not in a generic superhero fantasy, rather the precise goal " to discover something new, something mankind didn't know was possible to do" via (by the way, that was written to her father at age 9.)

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.

While in New Zealand, our public healthcare system is heavily subsidised to enable you to undergo free or incredibly cheap tests, in countries like America, the costs are prohibitive and this new method of blood testing will cut those costs to a quarter or even a tenth of what standard medical professionals in the US charge. 

Even private healthcare in New Zealand would be of benefit, in an interview with Glamour Magazine, Ms Holmes mentions  "the price differences are amazing. It can cost hundreds to get a basic fertility workup but through Theranos, at Walgreens, you could get the testing for something like $35. And the cholesterol test...might cost $85 at a doctor's office and at Walgreens, it was only $2.99." 

  Todd Tankersley    Brown Bird Design

Todd Tankersley  Brown Bird Design

At age nine, she was planning to take over the world and learning Mandarin. In high school she started her own business selling C++ compilers to Chinese Universities. She gained early admission to Stanford University and was inducted into an elite freshmen group, the 'president's scholars' and then with next to no formal biology training, she travelled to Singapore to work in the Genome Institute laboratory to work on a project for detection of SARS in blood and nasal swabs.

When she returned, she drafted a patent application, not long after which at age 19 she dropped out of Stanford, formed Theranos and has quietly grown her company under the public radar until now, a decade on and entering the media with a bang! 

By the age of 31, Elizabeth Holmes has already achieved more than the vast majority of entrepreneurs and she's done it out of the public eye. Generally, in business we're taught to get our brand out there immediately, advertise, put a face to the name, get your brand name on people's lips, in their faces, make your brand a household name. But up until recently, 'Theranos' and 'Elizabeth Holmes' were names only known to the medical industry, quietly brokering deals that will save Medicare upwards of $98 billion and Medicaid, $104 billion. via

Ms Holmes is 'drive' personified. She knows herself and her capabilities and has never thought there was anything she couldn't do. Her confidence and self belief has led her to life-changing decisions, to the constant betterment of self and of the world as she continues to strive for a dramatic change in the world, in business and in the healthcare industry. 

If these incredible feats are what she has accomplished by age 31, it is empowering, inspiring and exciting to think what else she will have accomplished 5 years, 10 years or longer down the track. 

She is truly an entrepreneur to watch!