From Betsy DeVos to Rupert Murdoch, to the Walton family, here are the investors that lost hundreds of millions investing in Theranos


Elizabeth Holmes

  • Going into summer 2018, the blood-testing startup Theranos was running low on cash.
  • In March, the SEC charged Theranos and its founder Elizabeth Holmes with fraud, alleging they had made false statements and misled investors while raising $700 million. In June, the Department of Justice charged Holmes and former Theranos president Sunny Balwani with wire fraud.
  • By September 2018, Theranos — which at one point had a $9 billion valuation — officially shut down. 
  • Theranos investors, which include Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Rupert Murdoch, and billionaire families, lost hundreds on the blood-testing company. 

A number of the big names who invested in Theranos — from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to Walmart heirs —  lost hundreds of millions from their investments in the blood-testing company.

Theranos, which was once valued at $9 billion, before shutting down, is the focus of “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley,” a new documentary debuting Monday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

Theranos had been under fire since October 2015, when The Wall Street Journal published an investigation that called into question the accuracy of its blood test. By the end of 2017, Theranos was in ne eed of new cash to keep it running.

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In December 2017, Theranos said in a letter to investors that it had raised $100 million in secured debt financing from investment firm Fortress Investment Group, with the hope that it would help the company survive through 2018. But in March 2018, the SEC charged Theranos and its founder Elizabeth Holmes with fraud, alleging they had made false statements and misled investors while raising $700 million. Holmes and Theranos settled with the SEC. 

Then in June 2018, Holmes stepped down as CEO of Theranos, remaining with the company as a founder and the chair of the board. She was then charged with wire fraud by the Department of Justice.

By September, Theranos had officially shut down, and its investors lost the hundreds of millions they’d bet on the company. 

Here were the biggest investors in the embattled blood-testing company, per The Journal’s review of a legal document made public in 2018: 

  • The Walton family, heirs to Walmart founder Sam Walton: $150 million
  • News Corporation and 21st Century Fox executive chairman Rupert Murdoch: $121 million
  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her family: $100 million
  • The Cox family, a billionaire family from Atlanta: $100 million
  • Mexican businessman Carlos Slim: $30 million
  • Greek businessman Andreas Dracopoulos: $25 million
  • The Oppenheimer family, a South African family that once owned De Beers: $20 million
  • Former Bechtel Corp chairman Riley Bechtel: $6 million
  • Attorney Daniel Mosley: $6 million
  • Patriots owner Robert Kraft: $1 million
  • Venture funds: $70 million

The family members who invested with DeVos aren’t happy about how things turned out.

“To say they’re highly disappointed in Theranos as a company and an investment is an understatement,” Greg McNeilly, the chief operating officer of the DeVos family group told The Journal in May. 

This article was initially published in May 2018 and has been updated.

SEE ALSO: Theranos has laid off most of its remaining staff

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