Sam Altman quits OpenAI venture fund under new structure

  • OpenAI recently restructured its venture capital fund, the OpenAI Startup Fund, leading to Sam Altman relinquishing ownership and control. Ian Hathaway, a partner since 2021, now assumes management.
  • The OpenAI Startup Fund boasts $325 million in gross net asset value, with $175 million in commitments last year. Focused on early-stage AI-driven ventures, it targets industries like education, law, and healthcare.
  • The fund’s adjustment clarifies that Altman, as the owner, lacks a financial stake, with Hathaway overseeing investments for added transparency.

OpenAI has recently revised the governance structure of its venture capital fund, the OpenAI Startup Fund, resulting in Sam Altman, the company’s chief executive, no longer retaining ownership or control over it.

Altman steps back

According to the filing, Ian Hathaway, a partner at the firm since 2021, has assumed the role of the company’s new manager, with Altman stepping away from the fund.

OpenAI Startup Fund currently has $325 million in gross net asset value, including $175 million in commitments last year. The organisation makes investments in early-stage AI-driven businesses in industries like education, law, and healthcare.

Also read: OpenAI expands media ties with news partners for chatbot training

Hathaway takes charge

This adjustment was prompted by criticisms of Sam Altman’s management of the OpenAI Startup Fund. Despite being labelled as a corporate venture arm, Altman solicited funds from external limited partners and retained complete control over investments.

OpenAI clarified that although Altman is the owner, he does not possess a financial stake in the fund.

Additionally, OpenAI stated that Hathaway has overseen the fund’s accelerator program and led investments in businesses such as Harvey, Cursor, and Ambience Healthcare.

OpenAI added, “As previously communicated, the fund’s initial GP structure was a temporary arrangement, and involved no personal investment or financial interest from Sam. This change provides further clarity.”

Also read: OpenAI: Musk’s investment and influence have been small

Altman faces scrutiny

Altman, the former president of Y Combinator, has previously faced scrutiny for his wide-ranging external investment interests, which include ventures such as fusion business Helion Energy and cryptocurrency startup Worldcoin, as well as his fundraising activities in the Middle East.

Sylvia-Shen

Sylvia Shen

Sylvia Shen, an intern reporter at BTW media dedicated in Fintech and Blockchain. She graduated from University of California, Davis. Send tips to s.shen@btw.media.

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