Who is Sunny Balwani?
Sunny Balwani is a well-recognized professional Pakistani-American businessman. Besides, he is prominent as the former President and Chief Operating Officer of Theranos. Evidently, it was a privately held health technology company founded by his then-girlfriend, Elizabeth Holmes.
Specifically, Sunny has come under scrutiny for his association with Theranos and its unsubstantiated claims and practices. Apparently, Theranos made misleading assertions about developing a new blood test process that required comparatively less amount of blood sample.
Profile of Sunny Balwani
|Full Name||Ramesh Sunny Balwani|
|Popular As||Sunny Balwani|
|Birthdate||13th June, 1965|
|Place of Birth||Sindh, Pakistan|
|Race / Ethnicity||South-Asian|
|University||University of Texas, Austin, University of California, Berkeley & Stanford University|
|Age||57 Years Old|
|Height||5’7” (170 cm)|
|Spouse||Keiko Fujimoto (Divorced in 2002)|
|Net Worth||$86 Million USD|
Sunny Balwani is a well-known Pakistani-American businessman. In addition, he is an accomplished software engineer and co-founder, as well as Theranos’ previous COO/President.
Early-life, Education & Family Background
Sunny Balwani was born Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani in a Sindhi family on June 13, 1965 in Sindh, Pakistan. However, being a Hindu, it was tough to reside in Pakistan thus his family relocated to India and later shifted to the United States in 1966. Regrettably, very little is known about his life before he moved to the United States. Accordingly, the specifics regarding his parents, siblings as well as family background are kept discrete. As of 2022, he is 57 years old.
Regarding educational background, Sunny has rather impressive academic credentials including degrees from the University of Texas at Austin, the University of California at Berkeley, and Stanford University.
As per reports, Balwani enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin in 1986 and was a member of the Pakistani Student Association at the university. Thereafter, in early 2000s, he attended the University of California, Berkeley to earn an M.B.A. Eventually; he graduated in the year 2003. Following this, Sunny enrolled in Stanford University’s computer science graduate program. Although, after four years of involvement with the program, he subsequently drop out in 2008
Sunny Balwani’s Professional Career
Sunny Balwani worked in the technology sector for several years soon after graduating with an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley. And, until 1998, Balwani was employed at Microsoft and Lotus Software. Thereafter, Balwani went on to co-launch “Commercebid”, a software development firm that assisted businesses in buying and selling products online.
However, CommerceBid.com was purchased by Commerce One, a competing B2B e-commerce business with a high stock value, in 1999. Interestingly, the entire acquisition was made with shares. Subsequently, Balwani was later appointed to the new company’s board of directors. Apparently, he sold his Commerce One stock in 2000 for around $40 million.
Balwani’s Association with Thernanos Controversy
Theranos was a privately held health technology company established by Balwani’s then-girlfriend, Elizabeth Holmes in 2003. And, in 2009, he became the company’s COO and eventually served as the president of the company. Meanwhile, Holmes served as the company’s CEO until 2018.
In 2015, the company came under scrutiny for making baseless claims all while indulging in unethical practice. Initially, Balwani was indicted with four violations of the US Securities Act by the US Securities and Exchange Commission in March 2018. Three months later, he and Holmes were charged with fraud and conspiracy by federal authorities in the United States.
Reportedly, Balwani was said to have acquired no formal training in biological sciences or medical technologies, which caused problems almost immediately. Moreover, there was no other medical expert on the company’s board of directors.
Furthermore, Sunny’s treatment of Theranos staff was also a source of contention. He was overbearing, unyielding, and demanding, as per reports. In addition, he was also suspicious about business espionage and attempted to keep firm affairs secret to a concerned extreme. Eventually, in May 2016, Balwani stepped down from his positions as the President and COO of the company.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused Balwani, Theranos, and Holmes with substantial fraud on March 14, 2018. Following this, Balwani was charged with four counts of violating the US Security Act.
As per SEC charges, Balwani concentrated on building software for Theranos’ technology and managing staff and operations…and interacted closely with [Holmes] and made corporate decisions together. Additionally, he was also accused of defrauding and misleading pharmacies, grocery stores, and investors.
Besides, Theranos’ contacts with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were also part of the SEC’s allegations against the business. Apparently, Balwani made false claims to the SEC about Theranos not needing FDA permission or clearance, according to the SEC.
Regardless, the SEC eventually reached an agreement with Holmes while she also agreed to pay $500,000. In addition, she was also required to hand over 19 million shares of company stock and is no longer allowed to take a managerial role at any public firm. Balwani, on the other hand, was adamant about not settling.
Following a two-year investigation by the US Attorney’s Office in San Francisco, Balwani and Holmes were charged with nine counts of wire fraud and two charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud by a federal grand jury on June 15, 2018
Currently, the case is being further examined in this section in the US District Court in San Jose. Meanwhile, Balwani and Holmes have both pleaded not guilty pleas in response to the indictment with Balwani asserting that he cannot be charged with deceiving investors because he did not make any money while linked with Theranos. As per official reports, Sunny’s trial is slated to begin in 2022.
Balwani’s Personal-life & Relationships
Initially, Sunny Balwani was married to Japanese artist Keiko Fujimoto. Apparently, the couple resided in San Francisco until their divorce in 2002. However, it is unclear whether he shares any children with his former wife.
Meanwhile, Balwani and Elizabeth Holmes became acquainted while he was attending Berkeley. Reportedly, she was 19 years his junior at the time and a high school student. Accordingly, they also spent the summer together in Beijing, China, as part of Stanford’s Summer Mandarin Course cohort. Consequently, they began seeing each other soon after and were in a long-term relationship. Apparently, they were in a live-in relationship prior to their separation.
Reportedly, Sunny is unmarried and single at the time following his split from Holmes. Currently, Balwani resides in a 9,000 square-foot California luxury villa. Apparently, this villa was acquired for a whopping $16 Million USD. However, the home is also being investigated as part of his ongoing fraud probe.
Net Worth of Sunny Balwani
Sunny Balwani is a professional entrepreneur with decades of expertise in the field. As of 2022, he has amassed a staggering net fortune of $84 million USD (approx.). Besides, he also owns a number of high-end automobiles and valuable real estates.