Testy Texan recounts how his Theranos shares went from $20+ million to zero

Enlarge / Elizabeth Holmes, founder and former CEO of Theranos, arrives for motion hearing on Monday, November 4, 2019, at the US District Courthouse in San Jose, California. (credit: Getty | Yichuan Cao)

On Monday, at the criminal trial of Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos investor Alan Eisenman walked into the courtroom and held aloft an enveloped stuffed with his personal notes. He hadn’t wanted to hand them over, but the defense had subpoenaed them. Here, take them, he seemed to be saying.

It was just one of many theatrical moments Eisenman would deliver in a brief day of testimony in San Jose, California. Eisenman invested around $1.2 million in the startup only to see his money vanish when the company went belly-up in 2018. His investment is behind one of the counts of wire fraud that Holmes is facing. But as the court heard, Eisenman had plenty of opportunity to cash out.

His first chance was in 2010, when Holmes offered to pay him at least five times his initial investment to buy back his shares. In 2015, he had two more chances: Eisenman spoke with people at SharesPost, a market for trading shares in private companies, who said he could probably sell for $14.75, which would net him at least $20 million. Also in 2015, he was approached by Chris Boies, the son of Theranos attorney and board director David Boies, who offered to pay $15 per share.

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