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OpenAI says Sam Altman no longer owns its $175 million startup fund



Sam Altman

OpenAI has removed its Chief Executive Officer, Sam Altman as the owner of its venture capital fund that backs AI startups.

This came as the company changed the Fund’s governance structure in a recent filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The OpenAI Startup Fund is investing $175 million raised from OpenAI partners such as Microsoft

The change, documented in the March 29 filing, came after Altman’s ownership of the OpenAI Startup Fund raised eyebrows for its unusual structure, while being marketed like a corporate venture arm, the fund was raised by Altman from outside limited partners and he made investment decisions.

OpenAI has said Altman does not have a financial interest in the fund despite the ownership.

In a statement, a spokesperson for OpenAI said the fund’s initial general partner (GP) structure was a temporary arrangement, and “this change provides further clarity.”

Control of the fund has been moved over to Ian Hathaway, a partner at the fund since 2021, according to the filing. Altman will no longer be a general partner at the fund.

OpenAI Startup Fund was launched in late 2021 to invest in other AI startups and projects.

By last May it reported $175 million in total commitments and a portfolio that included video editor Descript and legal tool Harvey.

It always had outside limited partners, including major OpenAI partner Microsoft, which is unusual for corporate VC funds but not unique.

What set OpenAI Startup Fund apart, however, was that it wasn’t owned by OpenAI. Nor even by its affiliated nonprofit foundation. Instead, it was legally owned by Altman.