Last Updated on September 22, 2023
Samuel Harris Altman is an American investor, entrepreneur, and programmer. Altman is probably best known for being the current chief executive officer (CEO) of OpenAI.
OpenAI is an artificial intelligence (AI) research laboratory that develops a multimodal large language model known as generative pre-trained transformer (GPT). It’s the company behind ChatGPT, a powerful language processing model capable of auto-generating realistic texts based on prompts or past conversations.
Sam Altman has had a fairly successful professional career besides his involvement with OpenAI. He co-founded Loopt, a California-based company that provided a service which allowed smartphone users to selectively share their physical locations with other people. Altman also served as the president of the tech startup accelerator Y Combinator as well as CEO of the social news aggregation platform Reddit.
Altman is also a renowned angel investor. He has invested in a series of startups, including Asana, Soylent, Airbnb, Zenefits, and Instacart.
Sam Altman Quick Facts
|Official Name:||Samuel Harris Altman|
|Professionally known as:||Samuel Altman|
|Birth Date:||April 22, 1985|
|Parents:||Connie Gibstine; father’s name unknown|
|Siblings:||Jack Altman and Max Altman|
|Birth Place:||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
|Education:||John Burroughs School and Stanford University (did not graduate)|
|Marital Status:||In a relationship with Australian software engineer Oliver Mulherin|
|Net Worth:||USD 500 million (as at September 1, 2023)|
|Source of Wealth:||Entrepreneurial Ventures|
|Height:||5′ 7″ (1.70 m)|
|Weight:||In kilograms: 65 kg; In pounds: 143 lbs.|
Early Life and Career Information
Sam Altman was born on April 22, 1985, in Chicago, Illinois, United States, to Connie Gibstine, a dermatologist. Not much is known about his biological father.
Sam has two siblings, brothers Jack and Max Altman.
Sam Altman attended John Burroughs School, a college preparatory school located in the suburb of Ladue.
He later enrolled for a computer science course at Stanford University. However, he dropped out in 2005.
Sam Altman co-founded Loopt shortly after dropping out of Stanford University. Loopt was a company that provided geo-social networking mobile application services which allowed smartphone users to share their physical locations selectively.
In addition to founding Loopt, Altman also served as its CEO. However, the company shut down in 2012 despite its founders raising over $30 million in venture capital. It was later acquired by Green Dot Corporation
Sam Altman joined the technology startup accelerator Y Combinator in 2011 as a part-time partner. This turned out to be one of the best investment decisions of his life. Y Combinator has helped launch over 3,000 startups over the years. Noteworthy ones include Airbnb, Reddit, Twitch, and DoorDash.
Altman rose through the ranks to become Y Combinator’s president in 2014, taking over from Paul Graham. He instituted a new deal for startups, in which Y Combinator provided $150,000 funding in exchange for 7% equity.
In 2015, Sam Altman announced the establishment of a $700 million growth-stage equity fund called YC Continuity. The fund invested exclusively in Y Combinator companies. The same year, Altman founded a non-profit research laboratory known as Y Combinator Research. The lab’s focus areas included education, urban development, basic income, and the future of computing.
In 2016, Sam Altman became the president of YC Group, a collective of Y Combinator and its other distinct units.
In 2019, Altman transitioned to the role of YC Group chairman so he could get ample time to focus on his other fledgling company – OpenAI. He was replaced as CEO by Geoff Ralston the same year before eventually leaving the company.
Sam Altman’s OpenAI was created in December 2015 in collaboration with many other investors, including Elon Musk. However, Altman did not focus on the company until he quit working for Y Combinator.
OpenAI comprises the for-profit OpenAI LP as well as the non-profit OpenAI Inc. Based in the Mission District of San Francisco, the company conducts research in the field of artificial intelligence. Altman is its current CEO.
One of OpenAI’s most popular products is the GPT-3 language model that automatically generates human-like speech while also offering translation services. Others include Gym – a public beta version of its reinforcement learning research platform, as well as Universe – a software platform for gauging AI’s capabilities across millions of websites, applications, and games.
In 2019, Sam Altman co-founded Tools For Humanity, a company that uses a cryptocurrency known as Worldcoin to build a global iris-based biometric system. Worldcoin uses a distribution mechanism similar to UBI in conjunction with artificial intelligence to provide a more robust way to verify online user identity.
Altman has also been an instrumental force in agent investing. Among the successful projects he has invested in are Airbnb, Asana, Verbling, Pinterest, and Reddit. Others include Instacart, Soylent, Vicarious, Teespring, and Stripe.
Sam Altman replaced Yishan Wong as CEO of Reddit in 2014. However, he served in that position for only eight days.
Outside of his direct entrepreneurial engagements, Altman is also chairman for the board of various nuclear energy corporations, including Helion and Oklo.
Sam Altman’s Net Worth
Sam Altman is a shrewd entrepreneur and investor with a net worth of $500 million as at September 1, 2023. He has earned his millions through his involvement in numerous successful projects, such as OpenAI and Y Combinator.
Altman would have become a billionaire in January 2023 after a deal between OpenAI and Microsoft led to a private funding round that valued the AI company at $29 billion. However, it later emerged that Sam had not taken any equity in OpenAI. So, he definitely missed out from the company’s cash windfall.
That said, Sam Altman seems to be on course to join the billionaires club. That’s especially when you consider that OpenAI’s ChatGPT currently has over 100 million users.
While ChatGPT is mostly free for basic usage, there’s a premium version that costs $20/month and provides more generative features. Besides, the chatbot’s framing as a “preview” implies that the developers are probably considering introducing an exclusive premium plan.
Sam Altman is gay. He’s presently in a relationship with Australian software engineer Oliver Mulherin.
Prior to meeting Mulherin, Altman was in a 9-year relationship with Loopt co-founder Nick Sivo. The couple broke up when the company was purchased in 2012.
Lessons from Sam Altman
1. Cast your net wide
Sam Altman’s $500 million net worth is the result of pursuing different income-generating ventures. These include working as a programmer, entrepreneur, and angel investor.
2. Success and failure are intertwined
Altman is one of America’s wealthiest programmers under 40. But his success did not materialize overnight. The OpenAI CEO has actually been involved in a couple of failed startups, including Loopt. He’s proof that true success usually follows a series of failed attempts.
3. Give back
Sam Altman is a philanthropist with a big heart. He has donated generously to numerous charitable causes, including giving $250,000 towards American Bridge 21st Century. He also founded The United Slate, a political project aimed at improving healthcare and housing policies in the United States.
Famous Quotes by Sam Altman
• Aim to be the best in the world at whatever you do professionally. Even if you miss, you’ll probably end up in a pretty good place.
• As long as you keep doing the right thing and have the best product, you can beat the bigger company.
• Great execution is at least 10 times more important and a 100 times harder than a good idea.
• No matter what you choose, build stuff and be around smart people.
• Remember that you are more likely to die because you execute badly than get crushed by a competitor.
Sam Altman is a distinguished investor and entrepreneur with a net worth of half a billion dollars. Altman’s wealth is the culmination of years of hard work, resilience, and intensive research.