Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani is a businessman and previous partner of Elizabeth Holmes. He served as the COO and President of Theranos and the firm has become the posterboy of fraud. Theranos has been condemned in the media for trying to fake til you make it approach. Sunny Balwani’s net worth is $85 million, but after his legal issues, his wealth will be lower.
Ramesh was born into a Sindhi family in Pakistan on June 13, 1965. Eventually, his family relocated to India and he spent most of his youth there. He moved to the United States in 1986 to study information systems at the University of Texas.
After graduating from university, he worked at Lotus Software and Microsoft. He then co-founded CommerceBid.com and sold the company for around 200 million in 1999, at the height of the dotcom bubble.
To keep himself occupied, Balwani got a Masters in Business Administration and studied at the University of California, Berkeley. After this, he enrolled in Stanford University’s computer science program but didn’t finish the course.
Meeting Elizabeth Holmes
Sunny Balwani met Elizabeth Holmes in 2002 while he was a student at UC Berkeley. He was 37 at the time and was a married man. Holmes was just 18 years old and just finished her senior year of high school.
They spent the summer together in Beijing, China, as part of Stanford’s Summer Mandarin Course group. Later that year, he divorced his wife, Keiko Fujimoto, an artist from Japan.
He reportedly became romantically involved with Holmes in 2003. Elizabeth stated that she was raped as a Stanford student and that she sought comfort from Balwani because of the crime. They moved into an apartment together, but their relationship ended during the collapse of Theranos.
Career at Theranos
In 2003, Holmes founded Theranos and served as the CEO until 2018. Balwani was appointed President and CCO and assumed control of daily operations. He had no background in biological sciences or hospital equipment, which was a problem as the company’s board of directors lacked the required medical expertise.
Sunny’s behavior was also a problem. Employees described him as arrogant, harsh, and demanding. While running the business, Holmes and Balwani kept their romantic relationship a secret.
In October 2015, the Wall Street Journal claimed that Theranos’ Edison blood testing equipment provided misleading medical diagnoses. Balwani was given a two-year ban from running a blood lab by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The SEC charged Balwani and Holmes with securities fraud in March 2018, alleging that they defrauded investors out of more than $700 million through a sophisticated scheme in which they made false claims about the company’s operations.
In December 2022, Sunny Balwani was sentenced to 13 years in prison. He should get out sooner for good behavior. On other hand, Elizabeth Holmes will be serving 9 years and three months in prison. Potentially Holmes got a shorter sentence as she has a child.