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Artificial Intelligence

The Secret Venture Fund Inside OpenAI

September 6, 2023
x min read

OpenAI came to the forefront of global attention with the revolutionary launch of ChatGPT, establishing themselves as arguably the leading artificial intelligence company in the world.

But quietly, OpenAI has been doing something else entirely: making their own bets on the future of AI.

What’s happening:

  • OpenAI has a venture fund, known as the OpenAI Startup Fund
  • While they have made only a select few investments, each startup offers a potential insight into the direction OpenAI sees artificial intelligence going
  • Recently, OpenAI raised $175 million in new capital for their fund

Who is making moves:

  • Speak, a startup building a language learning model for individuals to learn English, has raised $63 million since inception, with participation from OpenAI
  • Descript, a startup building an application which uses AI to edit audio and video in a simple to use text editor, has raised over $100 million since inception, including funding from OpenAI
  • OpenAI led the $5 million funding round for Harvey, who builds AI technology for lawyers and recently landed a partnership with one of the world’s largest law firms Allen & Overy
  • OpenAI has also backed 1x, a startup leveraging AI to build next generation robotics for labour

Going deeper:

  • OpenAI also recently made another bet on the future, acquiring independent game studio Global Illumination
  • Global Illumination, whose founding team includes former talent from Pixar and Riot Games, is best known for building a game called ‘Biomes’ which is considered be highly similar to Minecraft
  • While it’s unclear what the exact plans are for the future of the acquisition, OpenAI has said publicly that the Global Illumination team will work on ‘core products including ChatGPT’

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