Sunny Balwani is a known name in the business world thanks to his involvement with the health technology company, Theranos. He has been working since the 90s and found fame after joining Theranos and running its day-to-day operations. Moreover, Sunny has been embroiled in legal troubles which came after the collapse of the company.
Despite his high position in Theranos, Sunny managed to keep his life away from the public eye. However, people have shown much interest in knowing more about him, so in this biography, we will take a look at his family life, early career, and romantic history.
Where Did Sunny Balwani Grow Up?
The infamous businessman was born Ramesh Balwani in Sindh, Pakistan, in 1965. He was reportedly born into an upper-middle-class Sindhi Hindu family that was involved in farming. Much about Sunny Balwani’s parents and his childhood is a mystery, but it is reported that the family moved to a neighboring country, India. His personal lawyer, Jeff Coopersmith stated that this move happened because being a Hindu in a mostly All-Muslim country was hard for the family. Eventually, the Balwani family immigrated to the United States but where they settled is unknown.
While there is no further information regarding his time growing up, there are reports that Ramesh Balwani was a student of the prestigious boarding school, Aitchison College in Lahore. He received the education that was designated by British colonialists “for the youth of good family” and stayed there till 1984. Following the family’s move to India, Sunny must have enrolled in a college there, but after coming to the US, he joined the University of Texas.
Sunny enrolled in the university’s 1987 spring semester as an international student. There he was reportedly a member of the Pakistani Students Association. He continued to study there till 1991 when he left college to start his business journey. However, he returned to complete his degree and earned a Bachelor’s in information systems in 1997.
Furthermore, Balwani went back to college and received a Master of Business Administration in 2003 from the prestigious University of California, Berkeley. He also spent four years at Stanford University in their computer science graduate program but dropped out in 2008.
What Businesses Has Sunny Balwani Been Involved In?
As aforementioned, Ramesh Balwani aka Sunny Balwani left college in the early 90s to start his career. He reportedly worked for Microsoft and Lotus Software and was involved in the sales department of the former. However, he claimed to have written thousands of lines of code but there has been no concrete evidence that verifies it.
Following his tenure at Lotus Software and Microsoft, Sunny joined Commercebid.com in 1999 as President. CommerceBid was a software development company that helped businesses buy and sell products via auctions over the internet. It was reportedly purchased by Commerce One soon after with the buyout completed with stock and Balwani became a member of the board of the new company. The following year, he sold his share in the company and reportedly pocketed nearly $40 million.
Ramesh Balwani continued his journey into the business world and joined the infamous company Theranos in 2009. He had met the company’s founder, Elizabeth Holmes in China while they were students in a Mandarin-intensive summer program. They kept in touch after returning to the States and when Holmes nearly ran Theranos to the ground, she reportedly turned to Balwani for assistance. The pair were also apparently involved romantically at the time.
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What Legal Issues Has Sunny Balwani Faced?
The Pakistan-born businessman not only loaned his fortune to Elizabeth’s company but joined Theranos as president and chief operating officer. Despite not having any training in medical devices and biological sciences, Sunny ran Theranos’ day-to-day operations. But the lack of training and medical experts on the team resulted in numerous issues throughout the years.
The devices produced by Theranos were accused of providing inaccurate diagnoses and results and the machines failed quality-control checks multiple times. Moreover, after an inspection of their laboratory in Newark, California, the company was sent a warning letter. Furthermore, in 2016 CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) reportedly proposed a 2-year ban on Sunny from operating or owning a blood lab after the problems were not fixed. He then left the position in the company in May 2016.
Well, troubles for Holmes and Balwani in regard to Theranos continued afterward with numerous fraud charges filed against them. They were charged with securities fraud by the SEC in March 2018. They had apparently raised more than $700 million from investors through years-long fraud, making false statements about the company’s finances, products, and business.
Elizabeth did not admit nor denied any wrongdoing and settled the case out of court. She was found guilty on multiple counts of fraud in January 2022 but is awaiting sentencing which is scheduled on 18th November 2022, Similarly, Balwani denied his part in the crime but was found guilty in July 2022. He is also awaiting sentencing.
Well, it is clear that Sunny Balwani’s business career has ended on a sour note.
Is Sunny Balwani Married?
Talking about his personal life, the businessman was once a married man and his relationship with Elizabeth Homes is the talk of the town. Long before his work in Theranos, he met Keiko Fujimoto and was married to her for a few years. Sunny Balwani’s wife is a Japanese artist and the pair resided in San Francisco before ending their marriage in 2002.
Following this, Balwani was romantically involved with Theranos founder Elizabeth, who is 19 years his junior. Their relationship was not public knowledge and even the investors were kept in the dark. At one point, Holmes stated that during their decade-long relationship, Sunny was controlling and sexually abusing her. However, none of these claims have been proven to date.
Well, as of November 2022, Sunny Balwani is awaiting his sentencing.