Sam Altman is an American entrepreneur and investor who has a net worth of around $500 million as of 2023. He is most known for co-founding OpenAI, a research group that seeks to produce artificial intelligence that benefits humans, and being the former president of Y Combinator, a startup accelerator that has backed over 2,000 firms.
In this article, we will explore his life story, his career achievements, his interests, and his legacy in the tech industry and beyond.
Early Life and Education
Sam Altman was born on April 22, 1985, in Chicago, Illinois. Amidst his upbringing in St. Louis, Missouri, he early on developed a deep affection for technology. At the age of eight, he acquired programming skills on an Apple Macintosh computer. During his adolescence, Steve Jobs served as his idol. He attended the prestigious private John Burroughs School, where he achieved academic and social success. At age 16, he publicly declared his sexual orientation as gay and was met with encouragement from his peers and family. Following his graduation from secondary school in 2003, he proceeded to enroll at Stanford University, where he pursued a computer science major. Nevertheless, he withdrew after a year to pursue his entrepreneurial ambitions.
Sam Altman’s career in the tech industry began in 2005, when he co-founded Loopt, a location-based social networking mobile app, with the seed funding he received from Y Combinator. He was one of the first participants of the startup accelerator and became friends with its co-founder, Paul Graham. He served as the CEO of Loopt until 2012 when it was acquired by Green Dot Corporation for $43.4 million. He then co-founded Hydrazine Capital, a venture capital firm, with his brother, Jack Altman, in 2012.
Altman succeeded Paul Graham as Y Combinator president in 2014. He expanded the accelerator to fund businesses in biotechnology, education, healthcare, and AI. His new ventures included YC Research, a non-profit research lab, and YC Continuity, a growth-stage equity fund. He resigned as Y Combinator president in 2019 to become board chairman.
In 2015, Altman co-founded OpenAI, a research organization that aims to create artificial intelligence that can benefit humanity, without being constrained by profit or control. He was joined by other prominent tech figures, such as Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman, and Marc Benioff, who collectively pledged $1 billion to fund the project. He served as the CEO of OpenAI from 2019 to 2023, overseeing the development of groundbreaking AI systems, such as GPT-3, DALL-E, and Codex. He left OpenAI in 2023, after a dispute with the board of directors, and joined Microsoft as a lead of an advanced AI research team.
In 2018, Altman launched Apollo, a moonshot fund that invests in science and engineering startups that have the potential to transform the world. He has backed companies such as Helion Energy, a fusion energy company, Boom Technology, a supersonic aircraft company, and Neuralink, a brain-computer interface company.
Sam Altman has a variety of personal interests and hobbies, such as racing cars and flying planes. He owns a Tesla Model S and a Porsche 911 GT3 RS and has a pilot license. He is also a doomsday prepper and has stockpiled food, water, guns, and gold in case of a global catastrophe. He is particularly concerned about the existential risks posed by artificial intelligence and nuclear war and has advocated for the regulation and ethical use of these technologies.
Sam Altman is close to his family members, especially his brother, Jack Altman, who is also a successful entrepreneur and investor. He has a sister, Jessica Altman, who is a lawyer. He is not married and has not publicly disclosed any romantic relationships. He is Jewish and identifies as a libertarian.
Net Worth and Legacy
Sam Altman has an estimated net worth of $500 million as of 2023, according to Forbes. He has earned his wealth from his entrepreneurial and investing endeavors, as well as from his equity stakes in various companies. He is one of the most influential and respected figures in the tech industry, and has been recognized by various publications, such as Time, Fortune, Wired, and The Economist, for his achievements and contributions.
Sam Altman’s legacy is not only measured by his financial success but also by his vision and impact on the development of technology and society. He has been a pioneer and a leader in the fields of artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and space exploration, and has supported many innovative and ambitious startups that have the potential to change the world. He has also been a vocal advocate for the advancement of human rights, democracy, and social welfare, and has supported causes such as basic income, universal healthcare, and environmental protection. He has inspired and mentored many aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators and has shared his insights and wisdom through his blog, podcasts, and lectures.
Sam Altman is not done yet. He continues to pursue his passion and curiosity for technology and science and to explore new frontiers and challenges. He has stated that his ultimate goal is to create artificial intelligence that can surpass human intelligence and use it to solve the biggest problems facing humanity. He has also expressed his interest in colonizing Mars and becoming an interplanetary species. He is a visionary and a trailblazer, and his story is far from over.