OpenAI raises $175m in funding to invest in AI start-ups

25 May 2023

Sam Altman in 2019. Image: Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch (CC BY 2.0)

According to a filing made by CEO Sam Altman, the latest OpenAI fund is 75pc higher than the company had initially raised during launch.

OpenAI has raised more than $175m to invest in other AI start-ups, according to a securities filing.

Sam Altman, chief executive of the start-up behind ChatGPT, made the filing yesterday (24 May) with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, with a total offering amount of $175.25m for the OpenAI Startup Fund I.

The latest funding raise is backed by 14 investors according to The Information, which first reported on the story. The amount marks a 75pc jump over the $100m it had initially said it raised in May 2021, when the Microsoft-backed fund was first launched.

OpenAI’s start-up fund was set up with the objective of investing in companies that are “pushing the boundaries of how powerful AI can positively impact the world and profoundly change people’s lives”.

It released the names of four start-ups it had invested in as of December last year – Descript, Harvey AI, Mem and Speak – which the company said have “outsized potential” to reshape creativity, legal services, productivity and education at scale.

“We believe there is an enormous amount of value yet to be unlocked for the world with AI,” Brad Lightcap, OpenAI’s COO and manager of the OpenAI Startup Fund, said at the time.

“We’re proud to partner with the talented founders and teams at Descript, Harvey AI, Mem and Speak, as they’re building the tools that we believe will have a significant impact on everything from legal services to language learning, productivity and creative expression.”

OpenAI was flung into fame last year after the popularity of ChatGPT, its online AI chatbot that took the world by storm and open the floodgates to an ongoing generative AI race.

Last month, the San Francisco-based company closed a $300m share sale at a valuation of between $27m and $29m. This is in addition to the several billion that Microsoft invested in the company earlier in January.

Founders “from all backgrounds, disciplines and experience levels” who are interested in applying for the OpenAI fund can reach out to the team at

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Sam Altman in 2019. Image: Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch (CC BY 2.0)

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic