Despite all her alleged crimes, Elizabeth Holmes, the former CEO of the biotech company Theranos, can rest assured she still has someone who’ll go to bat for her. At a panel discussion on growing startup ecosystems at the Montgomery Summit yesterday, Bloomberg reporter Sarah McBride asked Tim Draper — a venture capitalist, enthusiastic Bitcoin supporter, and one of Theranos’ first investors — whether he would back Holmes again. Draper responded to the question by saying, “I’d back her as chief science officer, not CEO. Good question,” according to a short Twitter thread from L.A. Times reporter Sam Dean.
Holmes, it should be remembered, started Theranos when she was 19 with the goal of overhauling how blood testing was performed, but never actually translated that dream to reality. The company eventually folded in September of last year after a series of reports from the Wall Street Journal’s John Carreyrou revealed that none of the technology Theranos and Holmes claimed existed had actually come to fruition.
Following Draper’s awkward answer, Dean tweeted that someone in the crowd asked an “incredulous question,” to which Draper said that the person must have read the book, referring to Carreyrou’s “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in Silicon Valley,” which detailed the rise and fall of Theranos. Dean also tweeted that Draper implied the press was unfair towards Theranos, something he’s held before.
Considering that the primary reason Theranos went under was the lack of credible science and technology, Draper’s answer is especially ridiculous. If anything, Holmes was an exceptional CEO for the sole fact she was able to convince billionaire after billionaire to invest in her company on little more than an idea she could hardly explain in detail.
Wow - watch this video. I stumbled on it today- my interview from August 2016 with Theranos’ first investor, Tim Draper who was so certain about the technology back then. Now Holmes and her top associate have been charged by the SEC with “massive fraud” #tbtpic.twitter.com/vO8o7z1cPZ— Rebecca Jarvis (@RebeccaJarvis) March 16, 2018
In addition to championing the failed biotech company, Draper was also a personal friend of Holmes. What a relief to know that the people who control all of the money continue to believe in their friends, even after their disastrous, public, and allegedly criminal failures. Holmes is currently awaiting a criminal trial for charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.