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Sam Altman Removed as Head of OpenAI VC Fund

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman no longer controls the company’s venture capital fund.

The artificial intelligence (AI) company has changed the fund’s governance, removing Altman as its head and as a general partner, Reuters reported Monday (April 1), citing a securities filing. 

According to the report, the change came after Altman’s ownership of the OpenAI Startup Fund raised eyebrows because of its unique structure.

That’s because while the fund was marketed as something akin to a corporate venture arm, it was raised by Altman from outside limited partners, with Altman making investment decisions. Per the report, OpenAI has said that although Altman owns the fund, the high-profile executive has no financial interest in it.

The report said the OpenAI Startup Fund is investing $175 million raised from OpenAI partners like Microsoft. Control of the fund has been transferred to Ian Hathaway, a fund partner since 2021, Reuters said.

The news comes on the heels of reports that OpenAI and Microsoft were at work on a $100 billion data center project that would involve an AI supercomputer dubbed “Stargate” that is scheduled to launch in 2028.

Microsoft would likely finance the effort, expected to eclipse the cost of even the largest data centers, with the Stargate as the largest in a series of supercomputers the two tech companies hope to build. However, the development of that computer would depend largely on OpenAI’s ability to ready its next major upgrade, due out sometime early next year.

“Microsoft has demonstrated its ability to build pioneering AI infrastructure used to train and deploy the world’s leading AI models,” a company spokesperson told PYMNTS Monday. “We are always planning for the next generation of infrastructure innovations needed to continue pushing the frontier of AI capability.”

Meanwhile, another of Altman’s ventures continues to attract regulatory scrutiny. Worldcoin, his biometrics/crypto firm, was ordered to halt its data collection efforts by Portugal last week.

The CNPD, the country’s data watchdog, said it had gotten dozens of complaints in the past month about the unwarranted collection of data from minors, “deficiencies in the information provided to the data subjects” and “the impossibility of erasing the data or withdrawing consent.”

In a statement provided to PYMNTS, Worldcoin Data Protection Officer Jannick Preiwisch said the company follows all laws covering biometric data collection and would be happy to address the regulator’s concerns.