Theranos whistleblower added to Inspirefest 2019 line-up

16 Apr 2019818 Views

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“Technology doesn’t lie but, yes, the people who build technology can lie,” said Erika Cheung who appears at Inspirefest 2019 in May. Image: Erika Cheung

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Elizabeth Holmes was heralded as the next Steve Jobs when her blood-testing Silicon Valley start-up Theranos was valued at €10bn, only to fail a year later. Whistleblower Erika Cheung was the first to tell regulators the truth.

Erika Cheung has become a familiar face to those who have watched the award-winning HBO documentary, The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley. The feature-length documentary from Alex Gibney, the man who brought us Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, charts the rise and fall of Theranos and its founder and CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, who was heralded as the ‘Steve Jobs of healthcare’ at the height of her fame.

Theranos was once valued at $10bn only to drop to $0 one year later when it was revealed to be one big mirage. The company lost $1.4bn of investors’ money, many of whom were familiar names such as Tim Draper, Betsy DeVos and Rupert Murdoch. In March, Holmes was charged with fraud by the SEC, and is now facing up to 20 years in prison.

Insider Erika Cheung, on the advice of her lawyer, reported Theranos to regulators in a bid to stop the company from using unsafe practices on patients across the United States. Theranos was operating a large pilot scheme with Walgreens at the time, and the rest is history.

Inspirefest attendees will have the opportunity to hear from Cheung at the 2019 event, where she will give the audience in Dublin an insider’s view of just what went on at Theranos, as well as the lessons that must be learned by entrepreneurs, investors, Silicon Valley and the healthcare industry.

As well as being a director of the Betatron start-up accelerator in Hong Kong, Cheung has also founded her own organisation, Ethics in Entrepreneurship. She will share some valuable lessons on what she has learned.

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event celebrating the point where science, technology and the arts collide. Tickets for Inspirefest 2019 are available now.

Ann O’Dea is the CEO and co-founder of Silicon Republic and the founder of Inspirefest

editorial@siliconrepublic.com