Theranos burned through $2M a week as investors were given rosy projections

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes collects her belongings after going through security at the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building with her defense team on August 31, 2021, in San Jose, California.

Enlarge / Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes collects her belongings after going through security at the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building with her defense team on August 31, 2021, in San Jose, California. (credit: Ethan Swope | Getty Images)

Around the time that Theranos was losing nearly $2 million per week, investors in the blood-testing startup were being told that the company would soon be bringing in almost $1 billion per year.

It’s not uncommon for startups to lose money in their early years, and it’s not entirely unusual for the fastest burn rate to happen right before things turn around. Instead, Theranos continued to produce mounting losses. But that’s not what the company was telling investors, according to new documents shared during the jury trial of Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes.

In court yesterday, jurors heard testimony from the company’s longtime chief financial officer, Danise Yam, who also goes by So Han Spivey. Yam said that Theranos lost $16.2 million in 2010, $27.2 million in 2011, $57 million in 2012, and $92 million in 2013. In 2013, things had “started to get a bit tight,” Yam said. There were weeks where the company was burning through around $2 million per week, and there wasn’t any revenue to help ameliorate the losses. In 2012 and 2013, Yam didn’t even bother adding a line for revenue—there was none.

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