Theranos, a nine-billion-dollar company, was known for its blood-testing equipment which looked like something out of Star Trek. Their machines, called Edisons, could take a drop of blood from your finger and test for hundreds of diseases and health problems within hours (like Thomas Edison, apparently). Its pharmaceutical wonder spread like wildfire, attracting countless businesses, such as Walgreens and Safeway, who were willing to set up testing centers so that shopping for groceries and finding out whether or not you have gonorrhea can be done in one convenient trip.
Jim Wilson/New York Times
Vertical integration at its finest.
CEO Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of Stanford at 19 to found Theranos and accumulate a personal net worth of $4 billion, which is the kind of success story that gets you a lot of fawning PR write-ups. And while most journalists treated her claims that she was inventing the future with about as much scrutiny as they'd treat a toddler claiming they like ice cream, The Wall Street Journal's John Carreyrou decided to investigate.
She also made the cover of Steve Jobs Cosplayers Monthly.