Sam Altman Seeking Investors for AI Chip Venture
Altman had been in the Middle East, raising funds for a project codenamed Tigris, according to sources. The CEO of OpenAI aimed to establish an AI-centric chip company capable of manufacturing semiconductors to rival Nvidia Corp., the current market leader in artificial intelligence applications.
The venture into chip development is still in its nascent stage, and discussions with potential investors are preliminary, as disclosed byfamiliar with the private deliberations.
Altman has been actively seeking funding for an AI-focused hardware project developed in collaboration with former Apple Inc. design chief Jony Ive. Discussions about these initiatives involved key players such as SoftBank Group Corp., Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, Mubadala Investment Company, and others, with Altman aiming for substantial investments in the tens of billions of dollars.
Sources didn’t give any specific details about the scope and codename of Altman’s chip endeavors. However, Altman’s fundraising activities coincided with a crucial period for OpenAI, currently finalizing a tender offer led by Thrive Capital.
This offer, allowing employees to sell shares at an $86 billion valuation, attracted interest from SoftBank and other parties, although they were placed on a waitlist for a potential future deal. In the meantime, Altman encouraged investors to consider his new ventures.
Altman’s Comeback to OpenAI
A day after his ouster by the board, top investors at OpenAI want Sam Altman toto the company. Sources familiar with the matter said that Altman is also willing to join back, however, he could be requesting some governance changes at the board.
The decision by the OpenAI board to remove Sam Altman as CEO has faced criticism from both the tech community and the company’s investors. Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft Corporation and one of OpenAI’s major investors, has personally contacted Altman, assuring him of support in his future endeavors. Altman has also received backing from the Web3 community, with notable figures like Cardano Founder Charles Hoskinson and Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong expressing support.
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