Is The Dropout’s Sunny Balwani Based On A Real Person? Where is he today?
“The Dropout” tells the gripping true story of a brewing scandal at medical technology start-up Theranos, run by Standford dropout Elizabeth Holmes (Amanda Seyfried). The series created by Elizabeth Meriwether is based on the ABC Audio podcast of the same name by Rebecca Jarvis. In Elizabeth’s quest to start her own business and become a billionaire, her paths cross with Sunny Balwani, a software engineer and businessman who quickly becomes her closest confidant. Since the series is fictionalized from the true story of Holmes, viewers should be curious to learn more about the real Sunny Balwani and his current whereabouts. Then we have what you need! Here’s everything you need to know about Sunny Balwani! SPOILERS AHEAD!
Is Sunny Balwani based on a real person?
Sunny Balwani in “The Dropout” is based on a real person named Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. Balwani was born on June 13, 1965 in Pakistan. Later, he moved to India with his family and did most of his schooling in the country. The family moved to the United States and Balwani began attending the University of Texas at Austin in 1986. He then had brief stints as a software engineer with Lotus Software and Microsoft until 1998 when he became a figurehead of the start-up. software company, CommerceBid. When Commerce One bought CommerceBid, Balwani made a lot of money (estimated at $40 million) from his share in the company.
In 2002 Balwani met Elizabeth Holmes while on a trip to Beijing. The two became close and stayed in touch over the next few years. In 2002, Balwani divorced his then-wife, Keiko Fujimoto. Balwani and Holmes entered into a romantic relationship around 2003, and Balwani is also said to have helped Holmes with decisions regarding his startup, Theranos. Balwani officially joined Theranos in 2009 and served as Chief Operating Officer. Holmes and Balwani hid their relationship from the company’s board and investors for most of their time at Theranos.
Where is Sunny Balwani now?
Around 2015, various people and entities began to question Theranos claims and practices. As a result, Balwani was criticized and the company’s media image began to deteriorate. In 2016, Balwani left Theranos, but the circumstances of his exit remain unknown. While some sources said Balwani was fired, he claims to have resigned from the company. Eventually, Theranos went bankrupt and was dissolved in 2018. That same year, Balwani and Holmes were charged with nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Balwani has pleaded not guilty to all charges and maintains that he never profited from his work at Theranos.
Balwani resided in San Francisco prior to his divorce and moved to Palo Alto, California during his time at Theranos. However, his current whereabouts remain unknown. Holmes’ trial took place in 2021, and she was found guilty on four counts and is awaiting sentencing. Holmes accused Balwani of being abusive and controlling during their nearly decade-long business and personal relationship during his trial. However, Balwani flatly denied the allegations made against him. Balwani is awaiting trial, which is due to begin in March 2022.
Read more: Where is The Dropout filmed?