She was supposed to be the next Steve Jobs

Watch The Inventor, the documentary that shook Silicon Valley, about the rise and fall of the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world

In 2004, Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of Stanford at 19 to start a company that was going to revolutionise healthcare. In 2014, Theranos was valued at $9 billion, making Holmes the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world. Just two years later, Theranos was cited as a ‘massive fraud’ by The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and her company was worthless.

Just months after its world premiere at Sundance in January, The Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley is now streaming on Showmax. Directed by Oscar and Emmy winner Alex Gibney, the HBO documentary reveals what happened and explores the psychology of deception behind Silicon Valley’s ‘fake it till you make it’ mindset.

“This story is a classic example of truth is more dramatic than fiction,” says Gibney. “The characters are at once larger-than-life and real.”

Holmes’ most hyped invention was a portable device – named The Edison – that she claimed could quickly and inexpensively diagnose a host of infections and illnesses, using only finger-prick samples of blood to provide potentially life-saving early detection.

Holmes dazzled Silicon Valley and Wall Street over the next few years, raising hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital and enlisting such notables as former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, former senators Sam Nunn and Bill Frist, and former Secretary of Defense James Mattis to sit on the company’s board. Among her investors were Oracle founder Larry Ellison, Rupert Murdoch and current Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

In 2013, Holmes partnered with Walgreens to introduce her compact blood-testing device in pharmacies. Soon after, the company was said to be valued at $9 billion, with Forbes calling Holmes the youngest self-made female billionaire.

Then it all collapsed.

The Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley shows that Holmes’ rise from visionary dreamer to self-made billionaire was a hall of mirrors, aided and facilitated by top diplomats and corporate titans who continued to believe in her, despite Theranos’ paranoid secrecy in guarding its purportedly revolutionary device.

Using never-before-seen insider footage and specially created 3D graphics, the documentary goes behind the scenes, revealing how Holmes’ invention was plagued with problems from the start, how Theranos rigged test results and defrauded investors, and how rigid non-disclosure agreements prevented employees from telling the truth.

Watch The Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley on Showmax »