Wealthy families, encouraged by Henry Kissinger’s lawyer, sank over $400M into Theranos

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes speaks on stage during the closing session of the Clinton Global Initiative 2015 on September 29, 2015, in New York City.

Enlarge / Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes speaks on stage during the closing session of the Clinton Global Initiative 2015 on September 29, 2015, in New York City. (credit: JP Yim/Getty Images)

Silicon Valley loves unicorns, the privately held startups that surge to $1 billion valuations and beyond. By that measure, Theranos was a very special breed of unicorn—not only was the company worth several billion dollars, but it also raised around $1 billion from investors alone. Finding that kind of money can be challenging, but thanks to one well-connected matchmaker, Theranos made it look almost easy.

In the criminal trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, the jury heard that the matchmaker was Daniel Mosley, the estate attorney for former secretary of state and Theranos board member Henry Kissinger. In less than two years, Mosley connected several wealthy families and individuals with Theranos, ultimately bringing it over $400 million in investments, a significant portion of the estimated $900 million to $1.3 billion that the startup raised over its lifetime.

The list of Mosley-introduced investors, most of them his clients, reads like a who’s who list of the rich and powerful. The DeVos family, which made its money from founding Amway, put in $100 million, as did the Cox family, which controls Cox Enterprises, a media, telecom, and automotive conglomerate. The Walton family of Walmart fame invested $150 million, while Andreas Dracopoulos, a Greek shipping heir, put up $25 million. Kissinger himself was good for $3 million, and Mosley for $6 million. Kissinger’s friends who were not Mosley’s clients, including the Oppenheimer family (which formerly controlled the diamond miner DeBeers), invested another $24 million.

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