OpenAI Startup Fund Leadership Change

Leadership at the OpenAI Startup Fund has undergone a significant change, with CEO Sam Altman transferring formal control of the corporate venture fund to Ian Hathaway, the company confirmed. This move marks a shift in the fund’s management structure, which was initially led by Altman himself.

The OpenAI Startup Fund was established in 2021 with Altman as its controller. However, given Altman’s temporary ouster as CEO in November, the fund’s initial GP structure presented potential challenges for the company. Fortunately, Altman’s reinstatement as CEO allowed for a smooth transition of control to Hathaway. It is important to note that Altman had no personal investment or financial interest in the fund.

Ian Hathaway joined OpenAI in 2021 and played a pivotal role in managing the Startup Fund. He led investments in various companies, such as Ambience Healthcare, Cursor, Harvey, and Speak. As indicated by his LinkedIn profile, Hathaway worked as an investor at Haystack prior to joining OpenAI.

With $175 million in commitments last year, the OpenAI Startup Fund now boasts a gross net asset value of $325 million, according to an SEC filing. Notable investors in the fund include Microsoft and other external backers. The fund focuses on early-stage AI-driven companies in the healthcare, law, and education sectors.

The OpenAI Startup Fund has backed at least 16 startups, including Descript, a collaborative editing platform valued at $553 million in 2021, and Ghost Autonomy, a developer of autonomous driving software. According to PitchBook data, the fund has invested in at least 16 companies.

With the leadership transition from Altman to Hathaway, the OpenAI Startup Fund continues to play a significant role in supporting innovative AI-driven startups across various industries. The fund’s increased net asset value and diverse portfolio of investments underscore its commitment to fostering technological advancement through strategic investments.

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Last Update: 2 April 2024

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