The True Story of Sunny Balwani in The Dropout. Where Is He Now?

The True Story of Sunny Balwani in The Dropout. The place Is He Now?

Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani first met future Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes in Beijing in 2002. Holmes was then 19 and attending Stanford College’s Mandarin program, which was held over the summer season earlier than the beginning of the college yr. Balwani was 37.

As in The Dropout, Hulu’s new sequence dramatizing the rise and fall of Theranos, Holmes and Balwani instantly turned shut. They developed a friendship, which later become a romantic relationship after which a dysfunctional partnership with Balwani investing some $12-14 million into Holmes’ firm earlier than leaving in 2016.

By then, Theranos was below investigation for fraud, having been uncovered for touting a questionable expertise—a machine that was presupposed to revolutionize healthcare by offering take a look at outcomes with solely a drop of blood.

Balwani had grow to be the corporate’s president and COO, regardless of having little expertise in biochemistry. In a deposition, a Securities and Change Fee (SEC) lawyer requested Holmes about Balwani’s hiring.

“Did he have any {qualifications} within the lab testing enterprise?” the lawyer requested.

“He didn’t,” Holmes answered.

“Or in pathology or something like that?” the lawyer requested.

“To not my information,” Holmes answered.

Alongside Holmes, Balwani was indicted on costs of defrauding traders in 2018. Theranos dissolved that very same yr.

Right here’s how Holmes’ seemingly unqualified associate got here to be one of many high canine at Theranos.

Who Is Sunny Balwani?

san jose, california   april 22 former theranos coo ramesh balwani leaves the robert f peckham us federal court on april 22, 2019 in san jose, california former theranos ceo elizabeth holmes and former coo ramesh balwani appeared in federal court for a status hearing both are facing charges of conspiracy and wire fraud for allegedly engaging in a multimillion dollar scheme to defraud investors with the theranos blood testing lab services photo by justin sullivangetty images

Justin Sullivan

Little is understood or has been reported about Balwani’s pre-Theranos life. The New York Instances has reported that Balwani labored as gross sales supervisor for Microsoft. In 1999, he turned president of the startup CommerceBid.com. The corporate was purchased inside a yr for $225 million. Although it will later collapse, Balwani reportedly left with $40 million.

In response to reporting by The Wall Road Journal’s John Carryrou, who first uncovered Thernos’ fraudulent claims to traders in a sequence of articles, Balwani and Holmes’ relationship started as a friendship in the summertime of 2002. They met in Beijing earlier than Holmes’ freshman yr in school. Divorce papers earlier that yr present that Balwani was then lately separated.

Dangerous Blood: Secrets and techniques and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

By 2004, after Holmes had launched Theranos, Balwani had grow to be one thing of a confidant. He purchased a condominium in Paolo Alto, and in 2005 Holmes moved in with him. By 2009, Holmes had burned by many of the firm’s early investor capital and wanted a mortgage to achieve the subsequent stage of fundraising. Balwani says he gave her a $12-14 million mortgage. He then got here on to Theranos to run the corporate alongside Holmes. Nobody on the time—traders, board members, companions, workers—knew of their romantic relationship.

In response to Carryrou’s reporting in Dangerous Blood, Balwani then started to tackle a right away administration position to the confusion and discomfort of many on the firm; he’s described as one thing a paranoid bully.

By this time, Theranos hoped to market on to shoppers by retail companions, regardless that their blood-testing machine was nonetheless not prepared; it couldn’t persistently or precisely give outcomes for the variety of assessments it claimed to be able to operating.

Though Holmes’ protection on the latest trial would declare that Balwani was the one actively overseeing lab testing and inflating the corporate’s monetary fashions, texts obtained by Carryrou present that each he and Holmes had been actively concerned with the corporate’s day-to-day operations.

Holmes additionally testified that Balwani abused her and compelled her to have intercourse with him throughout the time the fraud costs came about.

In 2015, the corporate got here below scrutiny. Walgreens severed its partnership and filed a lawsuit towards Theranos. In 2017, the corporate got here below investigation by the SEC. And in 2018, each Holmes and Balwani had been indicted on costs of fraud.

The place Is Sunny Balwani now?

san jose, ca   july 17  former theranos coo ramesh balwani appears in federal court for a status hearing on july 17, 2019 in san jose, california former founder of theranos elizabeth homes and balwani are facing charges of conspiracy and wire fraud for allegedly engaging in a multimillion dollar scheme to defraud investors with the theranos blood testing lab services  photo by kimberly whitegetty images

Kimberly White

Though Holmes was lately convicted of fraud costs (and awaits sentencing later this yr; she might resist 20 years), Balwani’s trial has not but began. It’s scheduled to start on March 15 and to final 13 weeks. (Balwani will face the identical costs and potential sentencing as Holmes.)

Like Holmes, Balawani doesn’t seem like in jail awaiting the trial. His whereabouts now haven’t been reported.


Joshua St Clair is an editorial assistant at Males’s Well being Journal. 

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