Sam Altman Biography, Open AI, Net Worth, Spouse & Achievements

Sam Altman, an American entrepreneur and investor, has made significant contributions to the world of technology, particularly in artificial intelligence (AI) and startup acceleration. Born on April 22, 1985, in Chicago, Illinois, Altman demonstrated an aptitude for numbers and computing from an early age. Despite facing challenges as a gay teenager in the Midwest, Altman persevered and pursued his passion for technology.

Sam Altman Biography


Attribute Details
Full name Samuel Harris Altman
Age 38 years
Height 5.11 ft
Nationality American
Siblings Jack Altman
Education Stanford University (dropout)
Known for Loopt, Y Combinator, OpenAI
Profession Entrepreneur
Title CEO of OpenAI
Net Worth $500 million
Spouse Oliver Mulherin

Early Life and Education

Samuel Harris Altman, born on April 22, 1985, in Chicago, Illinois, grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, after moving there as a young boy. Sam showed a strong interest in computers and numbers even at a young age. Despite facing challenges, such as realizing he was gay during his teenage years, Sam’s determination remained steadfast.

He attended John Burroughs, an elite prep school, where he eventually mustered the courage to come out as gay during a school assembly. This bravery had a profound impact, prompting positive changes within the school community. Despite his academic pursuits at Stanford University, where he studied computer science, Sam’s passion for entrepreneurship led him to drop out in 2005 and pursue his entrepreneurial dreams.

Sam Altman’s Net Worth

The exact extent of Altman’s financial fortune stemming from his diverse investments remains uncertain, with estimates varying between $250 million to $500 million.

During his appearance before a U.S. Senate panel in May 2023, Altman affirmed that he held no equity interest in OpenAI.

Personal Life and Legacy

Sam Altman, known for his contributions in the tech industry, also leads a fascinating personal life. Since childhood, Altman has adhered to a vegetarian diet, reflecting his commitment to certain ethical and health principles.

Moreover, Altman is openly gay, having come out at the young age of 17 during his high school years. His courage in speaking out, particularly in support of National Coming Out Day, showcased his commitment to authenticity and advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights.

In terms of relationships, Altman shared a significant nine-year partnership with Nick Sivo, a co-founder of Loopt, before their separation following the company’s acquisition in 2012.

However, in January 2024, Altman tied the knot with engineer Oliver Mulherin, marking a new chapter in his personal life. Their wedding ceremony, held at their estate in Hawaii, was a celebration of love and commitment.

Altman and Mulherin reside in San Francisco’s Russian Hill neighborhood, enjoying a vibrant urban lifestyle. Additionally, they frequently escape to Napa, California during weekends, indulging in the region’s renowned wine and scenic landscapes.

Beyond his relationships, Altman is known for his preparedness mindset, identifying as a prepper. His comments in 2016 revealed a proactive approach to emergency readiness, including stockpiling essentials like guns, gold, and emergency supplies.

Sam Altman’s personal life reflects a blend of personal convictions, advocacy, and commitment to preparedness alongside his professional endeavors in technology.

Entry into Startup Acceleration

Sam Altman attended Stanford University, majoring in computer science. However, he dropped out after two years, finding more educational value in playing poker with classmates than attending lectures. He highlighted the game’s ability to teach him to discern patterns in people over time and make decisions despite imperfect information, calling it “a great game.”

In 2005, post-Stanford, Altman founded Loopt, an app enabling users to share their location with friends. Despite securing partnerships with companies like Sprint, Loopt struggled to attract users. In 2012, Green Dot Corporation acquired Loopt for $43 million.

Parallelly, in 2011, Altman commenced working part-time at Y Combinator, later establishing Hydrazine Capital with his brother, Max Altman, in 2012. Recognizing Altman’s prowess, Y Combinator’s founders, Paul Graham and Jessica Livingston, appointed him as president in 2014.

During Altman’s tenure, Y Combinator became the go-to place for startup founders seeking to develop successful ventures. Twice yearly, Y Combinator gathered founders for a three-month program, equipping them with skills to transform ideas into viable businesses, accompanied by $500,000 in funding in exchange for equity. By Altman’s departure in 2019, Y Combinator had nurtured approximately 1,900 companies, including Airbnb, Instacart, DoorDash, Reddit, and Twitch.

From Loopt’s inception to his transformative leadership at Y Combinator, Altman’s entrepreneurial journey underscores his resilience, vision, and commitment to fostering innovation in the startup ecosystem.

Person behind the power of CHATGPT

In 2015, OpenAI started as a non-profit group aiming to make AI helpful for people. Sam Altman and Elon Musk from Tesla were in charge. They began with $1 billion from Altman, Musk, Peter Thiel, and Amazon Web Services.

The idea behind OpenAI was to understand how powerful AI could be used. In 2019, Altman compared OpenAI to the Manhattan Project, which created the atomic bomb. He mentioned that he shares a birthday with J. Robert Oppenheimer, a key figure in the Manhattan Project.

In 2018, Musk suggested Altman run OpenAI to compete with Google, but Altman refused. Musk then left OpenAI, causing financial strain. To keep going, OpenAI made a for-profit company partnered with Microsoft. Microsoft took 49% ownership.

OpenAI made big strides in AI with large language models (LLMs) and natural language processing (NLP). Their GPT-based models were used in products like DALL-E, which generates images based on text prompts.

ChatGPT, released in late 2022, drew attention to AI’s potential. It quickly gained over a million users. However, concerns about AI’s rapid advancement led to political actions, like U.S. President Joe Biden’s executive order and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s summit.

The ownership structure of OpenAI, with a non-profit board overseeing a for-profit company, sparked debates about AI’s future. Would it bring amazing progress or harm humanity? Altman believed worries were exaggerated and manageable over time.

In November 2023, Altman was fired as CEO due to communication issues with the board. This caused turmoil, with most employees demanding Altman’s reinstatement. Microsoft offered Altman and another leader a job, but negotiations continued with OpenAI.

Eventually, most board members resigned, a new board was formed, and Altman returned as CEO. An independent investigation was launched into Altman’s leadership.

Challenges and Controversies

Despite his achievements, Altman faced challenges and controversies throughout his career. In 2019, Altman stepped down as president of Y Combinator to focus on his role as CEO of OpenAI. However, his tenure at OpenAI was not without turmoil.

In 2023, Altman was briefly ousted as CEO of OpenAI amidst allegations of communication discrepancies with the board. However, swift backlash from employees and external stakeholders led to his reinstatement. The incident highlighted the complexities of governance and decision-making in the rapidly evolving field of AI.

OpenAI Overview: Advancing Artificial Intelligence and Shaping the Future

  • Establishment and Structure: Founded in 2015 by prominent figures like Sam Altman, Greg Brockman, Peter Thiel, and Elon Musk, OpenAI operates as a nonprofit (OpenAI Inc.) and a for-profit entity (OpenAI Global LLC).
  • Advancing AI Technology: OpenAI aims to develop artificial general intelligence (AGI) to benefit humanity, although concerns about potential disruptive effects exist.
  • Innovative Products: OpenAI has introduced cutting-edge products like ChatGPT, DALL-E, Whisper, and Codex, showcasing advancements in AI, particularly in natural language processing and code generation.
  • Significant Milestones: From OpenAI Gym’s release in 2016 to the introduction of large language models like GPT-1 in 2018, OpenAI has made notable advancements in AI technology.
  • Shift Towards Commercialization: OpenAI’s transition to a hybrid nonprofit/for-profit model in 2019 aimed at raising additional capital, but controversies, including the brief ousting of CEO Sam Altman in 2023, arose.
  • Innovative Solutions: OpenAI’s technologies, such as ChatGPT and DALL-E, have revolutionized various industries, raising ethical and societal implications.
  • Collaborative Efforts: OpenAI collaborates with governments, academic institutions, and industry partners globally to promote AI safety, ethics, and responsible AI governance.
  • Continued Innovation: OpenAI remains committed to advancing AI technology to address societal challenges and benefit humanity while navigating the complexities of the AI landscape.

Companies Owned by Sam Altman with Investments

1. Helion Energy: Fusion energy startup where Altman invested $375 million in a series E round in November 2021.

2. Neuralink is a brain-computer interface company co-founded by Elon Musk. Altman became an investor in July 2021 during a $205 million series C round.

3. Reddit: Social media platform where Altman-era Y Combinator was a lead investor in a $50 million series B round in 2014 and participated in a $200 million series C round in July 2017.

4. Wave Mobile Money: African fintech startup focusing on money transfer apps. Altman participated in the company’s $200 million series A round in September 2021.

5. Retro Biosciences: San Francisco-based biotech startup developing therapeutic solutions. Altman was the lead investor in the company’s $180 million venture round in April 2022.

6. TrialSpark: New York-based biotech platform accelerating clinical trials. Altman invested in the company’s series B round in October 2018 and series C round in September 2021.

7. Hermeus: Aviation startup developing supersonic jets. Altman led the $100 million series B round in March 2022.

8. Humane: Platform creating consumer hardware and software. Altman led the $30 million series A round in September 2020 and participated in the $100 million series B in July 2021 and $100 million series C in March 2022.

9. Alt: Alternative asset platform for sports card trading. Altman participated in the $75 million series B round in November 2021.

10. Asana: Productivity management platform where Altman was a lead investor in the $50 million series C round in March 2016 and participated in the $75 million series D round in January 2018.

11. Aspen Neuroscience: San Diego-based biotech startup specializing in personalized cell therapies. Altman participated in the $70 million series A fundraising in April 2020.

12. Rescale: Cloud platform for engineers and computer scientists in aerospace and energy industries. Altman has invested in Rescale four times since its first seed round in 2012, most recently participating in a $55 million series C round in November 2021.

Shaping Political Discourse: Sam Altman’s Initiatives and Beliefs

Sam Altman, beyond his influential role in the tech industry, has also made notable forays into the realm of politics. While he didn’t pursue a gubernatorial run in California’s 2018 election, speculations arose following reports from Recode. Instead, Altman focused on “The United Slate” in 2018, a political endeavor aimed at enhancing housing and healthcare policies.

In 2019, Altman extended his political engagement by hosting a fundraiser at his residence in San Francisco in support of Andrew Yang, a Democratic presidential candidate for the 2020 election. This demonstrated Altman’s active involvement in supporting candidates aligned with his vision for societal progress.

Furthermore, Altman’s political contributions extended beyond mere endorsements, as evidenced by his financial support for Democratic causes. In May 2020, he donated $250,000 to American Bridge 21st Century, a super PAC backing Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. This financial backing underscored Altman’s commitment to advancing the Democratic agenda nationally.

Regarding policy advocacy, Altman aligns himself with progressive ideals, expressing support for land value taxation and universal basic income (UBI). These positions reflect his belief in addressing socioeconomic disparities and fostering economic equity through innovative policy frameworks.

Sam Altman’s political engagement exemplifies his commitment to effecting positive change and shaping the political landscape toward a more inclusive and progressive future.

News and Events Involving Sam Altman and OpenAI

  • OpenAI LP” information is available on, archived since March 11, 2019.
  • Elizabeth Weil’s Article Titled “Sam Altman Is the Oppenheimer of Our Age” was published on September 25, 2023, in Intelligencer.
  • Tripp Mickle, Cade Metz, Mike Isaac, and Karen Weise wrote an article titled “Inside OpenAI’s Crisis Over the Future of Artificial Intelligence” for The New York Times on December 9, 2023.
  • The Wall Street Journal published a piece titled “Artificial: The OpenAI Story” on December 10, 2023.
  • The Washington Post reported on Sam Altman’s departure from Y Combinator, citing his firing by Paul Graham, with an archived version available since November 23, 2023.
  • Jordi Perez Colome authored an article titled “Sam Altman: billionaire ChatGPT creator, startup guru, and prophet of the apocalypse?” for El Pais, dated May 26, 2023.
  • Tad Friend’s article “Sam Altman’s Manifest Destiny” was published in The New Yorker on October 3, 2016.
  • Glenn Chapman, Michael Bachner, Jacob Magid, Ricky Ben-David, Tal Schneider, and Jeremy Sharon wrote an article titled “Sam Altman: The quick, deep thinker leading OpenAI” for The Times of Israel on May 17, 2023.
  • Elizabeth Weil’s article “Sam Altman Is the Oppenheimer of Our Age” was also published in Intelligencer on September 25, 2023, with an archived version available since October 6, 2023.
  • Tom Junod wrote “How Venture Capitalists Find Opportunities in the Future” for Esquire on December 18, 2014, with an archived version available since December 20, 2015.
  • Paige Hagy’s article “Sam Altman’s ousting from OpenAI could lead to even greater success: ‘You could parachute him into an island full of cannibals and come back in five years, and he’d be the king‘” was published in Fortune on November 21, 2023.
  • Y Combinator provided information about people involved, archived since June 25, 2014.
  • Jason Ankeny’s article “Meet Y Combinator’s Bold Whiz Kid Boss” was published in Entrepreneur on April 25, 2015.
  • Information about executives at Loopt was available on their website, archived since February 16, 2012.
  • Jessica E. Vascellaro wrote “Startup Loopt Lands with Green Dot” for The Wall Street Journal on March 9, 2012.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission provided a “Form ADV – Uniform Application for Investment Adviser Registration and Report by Exempt Reporting Advisers” from Hydrazine Capital GP, LLC, dated February 14, 2023, with a PDF version archived since July 27, 2023.
  • Bloomberg L.P. provided a company profile and news about Hydrazine Capital LP, with information archived since July 27, 2023.
  • Kate Clark reported “Y Combinator president Sam Altman is stepping down amid a series of changes at the accelerator” for TechCrunch on March 8, 2019, with an archived version available since October 28, 2020.
  • Connie Loizos reported “Garry Tan Says Goodbye to Y Combinator” for TechCrunch on November 6, 2015, with an archived version available since October 27, 2020.
  • Sam Altman shared “YC Stats” on August 26, 2015, and “YC Changes” on September 13, 2016, both on Y Combinator’s website, with archived versions available.
  • Max Chafkin wrote “Y Combinator President Sam Altman is Dreaming Big” for Fast Company on April 16, 2015, with an archived version available since July 22, 2015.
  • Y Combinator provided updates on “YC Continuity,” with information archived since December 18, 2015.
  • VentureBeat also covered “YC Continuity” with information archived since December 22, 2015.
  • Y Combinator shared information about “YC Research” on October 7, 2015, with an archived version available since February 15, 2016.
  • YC Research’s website also provided information, with an archived version available since June 11, 2016.
  • Connie Loizos reported “Did Sam Altman make YC better or worse?” for TechCrunch on March 9, 2019, with an archived version available since February 3, 2020.
  • Updates from YC” were available, with information archived since March 16, 2019.
  • Kate Clark reported “Y Combinator president Sam Altman is stepping down amid a series of changes at the accelerator” for TechCrunch on March 8, 2019, with an archived version available since October 27, 2020.
  • Sam Altman’s departure from OpenAI was reported by “Sam Altman pushed out from OpenAI for not being ‘candid’ with board” on January 12, 2024, with an archived version available.
  • Deepa Seetharaman reported “Sam Altman’s Knack for Dodging Bullets—With a Little Help From Bigshot Friends” for The Wall Street Journal on December 24, 2023.
  • Richard Currie reported “Sam Altman rattles tin for Worldcoin crypto startup” for The Register on May 16, 2023, with an archived version available since June 21, 2023.
  • Richard Nieva and Aman Sethi reported “Worldcoin Promised Free Crypto If They Scanned Their Eyeballs With ‘The Orb.’ Now They Feel Robbed” for BuzzFeed News on April 21, 2022.
  • Eileen Guo and Adi Renaldi reported “Deception, exploited workers, and cash handouts: How Worldcoin recruited its first half a million test users” for MIT Technology Review on April 6, 2022.
  • “You Can Get This Free Crypto—If the ‘Orb’ Scans Your Eye” was covered by Wired on October 21, 2021, with an archived version available since June 29, 2023.
  • Robert Hart reported “What Is Worldcoin? Here’s What To Know About The Eyeball-Scanning Crypto Project Launched By OpenAI’s Sam Altman” for Forbes on July 24, 2023, with an archived version available since July 25, 2023.
  • Information about “How the Launch Works” and “Opening the Orb: A look inside Worldcoin’s biometric imaging device” was provided on Worldcoin’s website, with archived versions available.
  • MIT Technology Review reported “Sam Altman invested $180 million into a company trying to delay death,” with an archived version available.
  • Livemint reported on the Humane Ai Pin, powered by ChatGPT, to be shipped in March 2024, with information retrieved on December 25, 2023.
  • Drew Olanoff reported “Artificial Intelligence Nonprofit OpenAI Launches With Backing From Elon Musk And Sam Altman” for TechCrunch on December 11, 2015, with an archived version available since October 20, 2022.
  • Gerrit De Vynck reported “The man who unleashed AI on an unsuspecting Silicon Valley” for The Washington Post on April 9, 2023, with an archived version available since April 9, 2023.
  • Cade Metz reported “With $1 Billion From Microsoft, an A.I. Lab Wants to Mimic the Brain” for The New York Times on July 22, 2019, with an archived version available since November 18, 2023.
  • PBS NewsHour reported “WATCH: OpenAI CEO Sam Altman testifies before Senate Judiciary Committee” on May 15, 2023, with an archived version available since June 19, 2023.
  • OpenAI announced a “leadership transition,” with information archived since November 17, 2023.
  • Jay Peters reported “Sam Altman fired as CEO of OpenAI” for The Verge on November 17, 2023, with an archived version available.
  • Shanti Das and David Connett reported “Sam Altman ‘was working on new venture’ before sacking from OpenAI” for The Observer on November 18, 2023, with an archived version available.
  • Reuters reported “Microsoft CEO says Sam Altman will be joining Microsoft” on November 20, 2023, with an archived version available.
  • Tom Warren reported “Hundreds of OpenAI employees threaten to resign and join Microsoft” for The Verge, with information retrieved on December 6, 2023.
  • Alex Heath reported “Sam Altman to return as CEO of OpenAI” for The Verge on November 22, 2023, with information retrieved on December 6, 2023.
  • Cade Metz reported “Sam Altman Is Reinstated as OpenAI’s Chief Executive” for The New York Times on November 22, 2023, with an archived version available.
  • Tom Acres reported “Who is Sam Altman? The OpenAI boss and ChatGPT guru who became one of AI’s biggest players” for Sky News on November 22, 2023.
  • Sam Altman announced “A New Team At Reddit” on November 13, 2014, with an archived version available.
  • Reddit provided information about “An Old Team At Reddit,” with an archived version available.
  • Matthew Herper reported “Teaming tech and pharma, effort seeks to speed Covid-19 clinical trials” for Stat on June 16, 2020, with an archived version available since October 18, 2020.
  • Karen Gilchrist reported “A secretive annual meeting attended by the world’s elite has A.I. top of the agenda” for CNBC on May 18, 2023, with an archived version available since May 23, 2023.
  • Charlie Skelton reported “At Bilderberg’s bigwig bash two things are guaranteed: Kissinger and secrecy” for The Guardian on May 20, 2023, with an archived version available.
  • Walter Isaacson’s book “Artificial Intelligence” featured insights on Elon Musk and was available via Google Books, with information retrieved.
  • Rescale hosted a “Fireside Chat with Sam Altman” on February 24, 2020, with an archived version available.
  • Lynn Farah reported “Meet ChatGPT boss Sam Altman, who’s back in the CEO chair: Microsoft briefly hired him before his OpenAI return, he came out as LGBT in high school, and he splurges his millions on Tesla and McLaren” for South China Morning Post, with information retrieved.
  • Naina Bajekal and Billy Perrigo named Sam Altman “CEO of the Year 2023” for Time, with information retrieved.
  • Melia Russell and Grace Kay reported “OpenAI CEO Sam Altman just got married” for Business Insider, with information retrieved.
  • Linh Le reported “OpenAI’s Sam Altman ties knot with same-sex partner on $43M Hawaii estate” for VN Express, with an archived version available.
  • Cade Metz reported “The ChatGPT King Isn’t Worried, but He Knows You Might Be” for The New York Times on March 31, 2023, with an archived version available.
  • Melia Russell and Julia Black reported “Inside OpenAI CEO Sam Altman’s fixation on death and the apocalypse” for Business Insider, with an archived version available.
  • Tony Romm reported “Sam Altman will spend big on a new political movement to fix U.S. housing, health care and more” for Vox on July 31, 2017, with an archived version available.
  • Melia Russell reported “Andrew Yang preached his tech-friendly gospel at Sam Altman’s San Francisco house: You can’t treat tech like oil companies and breaking up Amazon won’t bring malls back” for Business Insider on November 14, 2019, with an archived version available.
  • Michela Tindera reported “Silicon Valley’s Sam Altman Gave $250,000 To Democratic Super-PAC Supporting Biden” for Forbes on May 22, 2020, with an archived version available.
  • Sam Altman’s Twitter account provided updates, with information retrieved.
  • Sam Shead reported “Silicon Valley leaders think A.I. will one day fund free cash handouts. But experts aren’t convinced” for CNBC on March 30, 2021, with information retrieved.

Source: Wikipedia

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Sam Altman’s journey from a young entrepreneur to a visionary leader in the tech industry reflects his unwavering commitment to innovation and progress. Through his work at Y Combinator and OpenAI, Altman has shaped the trajectory of the startup ecosystem and AI development.

As technology continues to evolve, Altman’s legacy serves as a reminder of the transformative power of entrepreneurship and the importance of ethical leadership in shaping the future of humanity. With his vision and determination, Altman has left an indelible mark on the world of technology, inspiring future generations.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who owns most of OpenAI?

It’s unclear who owns most of OpenAI as it is distributed among several individuals and organizations. Notably, major contributors to OpenAI’s funding include Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, and others.

2. Who is the CEO of ChatGPT?

The CEO of OpenAI, which oversees ChatGPT, is Sam Altman.

3. Who purchased OpenAI?

OpenAI remains an independent organization. However, Microsoft has made significant investments in the company, acquiring exclusive licensing rights to its technologies.

4. Who is the CEO of OpenAI’s wife?

Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, is married to Oliver Mulherin.

5. Is Sam Altman related to Jack Altman?

Yes, Sam Altman is related to Jack Altman; they are brothers.

6. Why is Sam Altman famous?

Sam Altman is famous for his role as an entrepreneur and investor, particularly known for co-founding OpenAI, leading Y Combinator as its president, and his involvement in various successful startup ventures.

7. Are Sam Altman and Elon Musk friends?

Sam Altman and Elon Musk have collaborated professionally, particularly through their involvement in ventures like OpenAI. While their personal relationship is not widely known, they have interacted in business contexts.

8. Is Sam Altman married Oliver Mulherin?

Altman dated Nick Sivo, co-founder of Loopt, for nine years before their breakup shortly after the company’s acquisition in 2012. In January 2024, Altman married engineer Oliver Mulherin at their estate in Hawaii.

The couple resides in San Francisco’s Russian Hill neighborhood and often spends weekends in Napa, California.

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