The trial of Elizabeth Holmes is set to take place in San Jose Tuesday.
Holmes, founder and former CEO of Theranos, will go on trial on allegations of defrauding investors and patients.
The Stanford drop out and her company, Theranos, claimed that machines could run dozens of critical medical tests using just a tiny amount of blood. At one point, the company was valued at $9 billion.
“The first thing I remember was being really inspired,” said CEO of Female Founders Alliance Leslie Feinzaig.
For female tech CEOs like Feinzaig, Holmes was an important leader.
“There are so few prominent women that investors believe in that much,” she said, “and that made the fall that much more heartbreaking for a lot of us.”
The fall was steep. It prompted layoffs, billions lost by prominent investors and patients given inaccurate test results from Theranos machines that didn’t work.
“We’re talking about fraud and conspiracy.”
Many Silicon Valley venture capitalists were burned by Theranos, some even say the massive losses temporarily froze investments.
Trial watchers said that freeze hit women-run businesses the hardest.
“…and sadly, whatever happens, is going to send – and kind of deepen a message – particularly to female entrepreneurs who I think have experienced a tough time, especially in the valley,” said Esquire Digital Aron Solomon.
Documents show that Holmes plans to say she was abused by co-defendant and Theranos executive Ramesh Balwani. Balwani’s attorneys have denied those accusations.
His trial will be separate and is set to start in January.
If convicted, Holmes could face 20 years in prison. Prosecutors say Holmes not only swindled investors of hundreds of millions of dollars, but she also put thousands of lives at risk.
Source: NBC Bay Area