OpenAI Restructures Startup Fund, Sam Altman No Longer Holds Ownership

OpenAI restructures its startup fund, removing Sam Altman from ownership. This move aims for transparency, with Ian Hathaway taking over.
Sam Altman

Initially, Altman held ownership of the fund and was solely responsible for investment decisions.

OpenAI, the renowned artificial intelligence research organisation, has made major changes to the ownership structure of its venture capital fund dedicated to supporting AI startups. The alteration involves the removal of Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, from ownership or control of the fund. This transition was officially documented in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) dated March 29.
The decision to redefine the fund's governance came in response to the unconventional nature of Altman's ownership of the OpenAI Startup Fund. Initially, Altman held ownership of the fund, which was raised from external limited partners, and he was solely responsible for investment decisions. Although Altman has asserted that he does not possess any financial interest in the fund, the structure raised concerns among observers.
Reported by Axios, the change in ownership aims to provide greater transparency and clarity regarding the management of the fund. A spokesperson for OpenAI clarified that the original structure, where Altman acted as the fund's general partner, was deemed a temporary arrangement.
The OpenAI Startup Fund, with a substantial investment sum of $175 million sourced from partners like Microsoft, is designed to support emerging AI ventures. Notably, OpenAI itself is not a direct investor in the fund. With the recent adjustment, control of the fund has transitioned to Ian Hathaway, a partner at the fund since 2021. Altman hands over his position as a general partner (GP) in this reshuffling.
Hathaway's involvement with the fund extends to overseeing its accelerator program and leading investments in various promising startups, including Harvey, Cursor, and Ambience Healthcare.
Sam Altman, recognised for his previous role as the president of startup accelerator Y Combinator, has faced scrutiny for his diverse investment interests outside of OpenAI. These ventures range from involvement with cryptocurrency startup Worldcoin to fusion energy company Helion Energy, alongside fundraising endeavours in the Middle East.
In light of Altman's departure from OpenAI last November, an independent investigation concluded that he had not engaged in any wrongdoing concerning product safety or the organisation's financial matters.
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