In the weeks leading up to his shocking ouster from OpenAI, Sam Altman was actively working to raise billions from some of the world’s largest investors for a new chip venture, according to people familiar with the matter.
Altman has traveled to the Middle East to raise funds for the project, which was named Tigris as per the people. The chief executive officer of OpenAI had planned to sign up a chip company that primarily focused on AI that could produce semiconductors that could compete against the ones from Nvidia Corp., which is recently dominating the market for tasks related to artificial intelligence.
Altman’s chip mission is not yet developed, and discussions with the investors are still in their earliest stages, the people said, who had asked for complete confidentiality as the discussions were held in privacy.
“Altman has also been looking to raise money for an AI-focused hardware device that he’s been developing in tandem with former Apple Inc. design chief Jony Ive. Altman has had talks about these ventures with SoftBank Group Corp., Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, Mubadala Investment Company and others, as he sought tens of billions of dollars for these new companies,”
as per the people.
Multiple details related to the scale and focus of Altman’s chip visions, as well as the codename of the project, were not reported previously.
“Altman’s fundraising efforts came at an important moment for the AI startup. OpenAI has been working to finalize a tender offer, led by Thrive Capital, that would let employees sell their shares at an $86 billion valuation. SoftBank and others had hoped to be part of this deal, one person said, but were put on a waitlist for a similar deal at a later date. In the interim, Altman urged investors to consider his new ventures,”
the same people had said.
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