And friends in high places, apparently. Just being cute doesn't convince two former US Secretaries of State (and other assorted high-ranking government officials) to join your board.
That's more indicative of the bad joke known as Corporate Governance than anything else. I *wish* it were specific to Theranos, but it's not. These boards literally do nothing, they are simply about paychecks & junkets for the connected. Hideous and shameful, and the stick-beatings should be broadly, not narrowly, applied.
It's an incredibly serious and deep problem, and it's not just the boards: We've gone from gigantically disparate dual-class stock becoming common place to Snap now offering no-class stock (in which your "equity" carries absolutely no governance rights at all
, not even a fig-leaf).
We're coasting on a predominately informal system of trust in which all the secondary formal constraints are rapidly being removed. That's a recipe for situations like this, and it's only going to get worse.
I don't even know where to start/stop, it's all interrelated: We also have a "private" market that is, for almost all intents and purposes, a public one. Actually, I'm underplaying it, it's almost worst: Some of these unicorns are literally at the point the IPO is the problem. The "private" market (which is often the public market just abstracted away i.e. mutual funds) is flush with tens of billions of dollars in cash, all poured into valuations that are increasingly having trouble going through the hurdles of actually going public.
In other words, it seems to be easier to raise funds privately than publicly.
Again, I'm understating to the point of almost lying: the IPO isn't about raising funds at all at this point(Uber has a burn rate of like 2 billion a year, so getting money is obviously not a problem), it's about paying back in the initial investors with new investor money.
What does that remind you of?