Business elizabeth_holmes_teenager

Published on March 12th, 2015 | by Brett Harris

This 30-year-old billionaire started her company as a teenager





(CNN) — Elizabeth Holmes left Stanford University at 19 with a plan to start her own company. For money, she cashed out the funds her parents had saved for tuition. Now, she counts billionaire Larry Ellison as an investor and has former secretaries of state on her board.

“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,” she said. “What I did was just to start a little earlier.”

Holmes, through her company Theranos, has taken on the $76 billion laboratory-diagnostic industry as her target. It’s an industry that was just waiting to be disrupted, since blood testing has not changed since the modern clinical lab emerged in the 1960s.

Her idea: No more vials. No more tourniquets. Just a pinprick of blood gathered in a container smaller than a dime. And up to 70 lab tests can be run on one drop of blood in less time than traditional tests.

Holmes thinks that ease of testing will make people more likely to go through with blood tests and help with earlier detection of illness, something she’s passionate about. Her father, Christian Holmes IV, has spent a career working in humanitarian assistance, including several executive positions with USAID.

“My father worked in disaster relief and so I grew up in a house that had pictures of all these little children in really tough parts of the world,” she said. “I was absolutely convinced that was what I was going to do. Then when I started realizing that a company could be a vehicle for having very direct impact over a change that you are trying to make, I started thinking about the concept of what could I build that could impact a lot of peoples’ lives?”

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Photo courtesy of World in Canada.


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About the Author

is co-founder of TheRebelution.com and co-author of Do Hard Things, along with his twin brother, Alex. He is married to his best friend, Ana, who suffers from a severe case of chronic Lyme Disease. He is the host of Raising Kids to Do Hard Things — an online course for Christian parents.



  • Martial Artist

    Cool! Another teenage success story! I miss these, you guys should put them on here more often. I like hearing the stories of other young people and how they went against the norms of society. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to do something this neat. :) And good job to Holmes too. Thanks Brett.

    • MimeforJesus :)

      I think we can submit these type of things, if you know of somebody young who did something cool :)

  • Josh A

    So tell me…when you clicked on this link, was the first thing that popped into your head, “wow this person in the picture looks like they’re trying to hypnotize me”? Or is that just me. 😛

    But anyway, never having had a blood test I really hope this person’s ideas come into common use. :-) And I echo what @graysonzaragoza:disqus said, too – congrats!

    • Ya, it does kind of look like that. :-p

    • She looks like a character from the 3rd Left Behind movie, “World at War”. Her name escapes me at this moment…

      • Haylie

        Yeah, you’re right! Oh, now it will bother me until i remember her name…

        • Well, for you, me, and @disqus_joshwhatshislastname:disqus, this will be the perfect excuse to go watch it. 😉

      • Josh A

        Haha ok I would guess but I haven’t seen those movies soooo… =)

      • You’re right! I believe the name was Carolyn Miller. Thank you, Google!

        • YES!!! Man, you just stole my excuse to take a nice long break and watch a movie. I’ll forgive you, but only this once.

        • Haylie

          Aha! That’s it!!!

  • Haylie

    Neat! Stories like this are such great motivators!

  • I love hearing stories of teenagers that saw needs in the world and did something about it! It’s so inspiring! :)

  • Katherine E.

    So cool!! Really inspiring too!

  • Wow!!

  • Liam

    This is a good example of yet another teen who rose up and decided to do something with their life rather than live into the complacency modern society expects.

  • mimeforJesus

    Cool :)

  • Samuel G

    Well, good for her.

    Here’s yet another example of the power of doing hard things. At the same time though, I have to say that I don’t always find these sorts of stories particularly helpful. While I’m sure reading others’ “success stories” can be inspiring, for me it sometimes takes the focus off my role as a servant of God and fills me with this desire for earthly success. And while some people find themselves in this position, the reality is that most of us will not achieve this sort of high-profile success in what we do. Often our “hard things” will be done on a smaller level, things that touch people on an individual basis rather than astonishing the world. I find that stories like this can leave me content to “dream” about success rather than inspiring me to get on and tackle the challenges which are staring me in the face.

    That said, it is amazing the amount of God-given potential we have to accomplish great things. Let’s just make sure that we use it.

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  • MimeforJesus :)

    Hey @Brett_Harris:disqus you’ll want to see these three newest comments. (The ones by by @disqus_3fvCR7Jear:disqus )

    • Josh A

      Haha, look who came out of hiding. XD

      • MimeforJesus :)

        What?! GodsThespian must have been getting into my account! *stomps off to find her*
        But really, I figured he’d want to know about it, and I forgot that other people (like you) also get emails from these old threads most people have forgotten.

        • Josh A

          Haha, I just saw on my Disqus homepage that you had commented and decided to say something. =P

          • MimeforJesus :)

            =P

    • Thanks so much, @mimeforjesus:disqus!

      • MimeforJesus :)

        You’re welcome! Is there another way to let you know about these in the future? I wondered if I was going overboard flagging their comments, then leaving a comment of my own and flagging it, too.

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    • MimeforJesus

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  • MimeforJesus

    What is it with spam on this thread!? This makes three, by my count… anyways, you mods will want to have a look at the most recent comment, by Russel Thomas.

  • Lewis Mas

    Good for her. You can do it all we need is faith and hope.

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    Wow! That’s awesome! ♥ ♥ ♥

  • Angela Pycroft

    And here I am refusing to do my math lessons……..yeaahhhhh…

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