Billionaire investor Tim Draper says he still respects Theranos and convicted founder Elizabeth Holmes: 'She didn't lie to me'

Billionaire investor Tim Draper says he still respects Theranos and convicted founder Elizabeth Holmes: 'She didn't lie to me'
Silicon Valley investor Tim Draper.Horacio Villalobos/Corbis/Getty Images
  • Famed Silicon Valley investor Tim Draper said Theranos' Elizabeth Holmes "didn't lie" to him.
  • He has long maintained support for her, even after she was charged with massive fraud in 2018.

Famed Silicon Valley investor Tim Draper has maintained his support for Theranos' Elizabeth Holmes since reports of wrongdoing began to surface in 2015.

And that support remains even after the CEO was convicted of fraud in a high-profile trial.

Draper told Fortune's Jessica Mathews in an interview published Wednesday that he didn't follow all of the legal proceedings, but he still respects Holmes for what she was striving to achieve with her company.

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"Here's the way I look at it: She didn't lie to me," Draper said. "I was an investor. I lost my entire investment. And I still have the utmost respect for what she was trying to accomplish, all the work she put in, all the things she was trying to do for the world."

Asked if he would still write Holmes a check if he could go back, Draper said: "I don't think I'm allowed to go back to 2003. I don't have a time machine."


He also said we should be more "forgiving" of people trying to improve others' lives.

"I mean, it's almost anti-American to go after somebody who's trying to, as she said, change healthcare as we know it," Draper told Fortune.

Theranos has been called the poster child for the flaws in Silicon Valley's VC ecosystem, with investors pouring cash into new startups without first doing due diligence. Draper told Fortune that investors should always examine funding decisions and "if things don't work, you take your lumps."

Draper was one of the first investors Holmes recruited for funding of her then-promising blood-testing startup. He was once neighbors with the Holmes family and is also the father of her childhood friend.

In 2018, shortly after the US first filed criminal charges against Holmes, Draper told Cheddar that the CEO was "innocent until proven guilty," that Theranos was attacked by the media too early, and that it was "forced to sort of fail."


Holmes dropped out of Stanford at age 19 to launch her startup and later became the world's youngest female self-made billionaire.

But evidence of flaws in the company's technology began to emerge, as well as Holmes' part in covering it up and misleading investors. She was charged with "massive fraud" in 2018, and on Jan. 3 was convicted on numerous counts, including one of conspiracy to defraud investors.