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Altman Relinquishes Control of OpenAI Startup Fund


Abstract

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, has transferred control of the OpenAI Startup Fund to Ian Hathaway, resolving concerns over its unique corporate structure. Hathaway, who joined OpenAI in 2021, will now oversee the fund's investments, which include backing early-stage AI-driven startups. This development coincides with reports of a potential collaboration between OpenAI and Microsoft on a $100 billion data center project, while another venture associated with Altman, Worldcoin, faces regulatory scrutiny over data collection practices.


 

In a significant corporate development, Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, has officially passed control of the OpenAI Startup Fund to Ian Hathaway, resolving a unique corporate venture structure that had been in place since the fund's establishment in 2021.


Originally established with Altman as its named controller, the OpenAI Startup Fund's governance raised concerns, particularly considering Altman's position within OpenAI and the potential implications if he were not reinstated as CEO following a brief ousting in November. However, it's important to note that Altman's involvement in the fund was solely as a named controller, with no personal investment or financial interest.


Ian Hathaway, who joined OpenAI in 2021, has been instrumental in managing the Startup Fund, leading investments in several early-stage AI-driven companies spanning fields such as healthcare, law, and education. Notably, the fund has backed over 16 startups, including Descript and Ghost Autonomy.


The decision to transfer control to Hathaway marks a significant shift in governance and aims to address concerns surrounding the fund's structure. It's worth mentioning that the fund, initially raised by Altman from outside limited partners, has now been transferred to Hathaway, a move likely to provide clarity and stability to OpenAI's investment activities.


This development comes amidst reports of a potential collaboration between OpenAI and Microsoft on a groundbreaking $100 billion data center project. Dubbed "Stargate," the AI supercomputer initiative is slated for launch in 2028 and is expected to be financed by Microsoft. The success of the project hinges on OpenAI's forthcoming major upgrade, scheduled for release early next year.


Meanwhile, regulatory scrutiny has emerged for another venture associated with Altman. Worldcoin, a biometrics/crypto firm, has faced orders from Portugal's data watchdog to halt data collection efforts due to complaints regarding the handling of data from minors and deficiencies in information provided to data subjects.


These developments underscore the evolving landscape surrounding OpenAI and its ventures, highlighting both opportunities and challenges in the rapidly advancing fields of artificial intelligence and technology.

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