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The OpenAI Startup Fund is no longer owned and controlled by Sam Altman

Sam Altman and the OpenAI logo

OpenAI has removed Sam Altman as the owner and controller of the OpenAI Startup Fund, a venture capital fund associated with the company. According to Axios, control of the fund has been given to Ian Hathaway who has helped to manage it since its launch in 2021.

The change of leadership was reported in a filing with the SEC on March 29 after it “raised eyebrows” for its unusual structure. Explaining Altman’s leadership of the fund until now, OpenAI said:

“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.”

The reason the OpenAI Startup Fund drew questions was because it wasn’t and isn’t owned by OpenAI, despite its name. It was legally owned by Sam Altman instead. It also has outside limited partners, including Microsoft, which Axios calls unusual for a corporate VC but isn’t unique.

OpenAI said in February that the reason behind the structure was so that the fund could get started quickly and the fastest way to do that was to put it in Altman’s name. As reiterated this week, OpenAI said in February that the decision was only meant to be temporary.

The new head of the fund, Ian Hathaway, has run its accelerator program and led investments in different startups such as Harvey, Cursor, and Ambience Healthcare. This experience should mean that the fund is in capable hands despite Altman’s departure.

According to Reuters, Sam Altman has previously drawn criticism for his wide array of investments including in Worldcoin and Helion Energy.

With this latest move, it should remove some of the heat from Altman and OpenAI, as well as the OpenAI Startup Fund.

Let us know in the comments what you think about this move. Do you think the scrutiny Sam Altman is now facing is justified?

Source: Axios via Reuters | Image via Depositphotos.com

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