Sam Altman

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Sam Altman
Sam Altman TechCrunch SF 2019 Day 2 Oct 3 (cropped).jpg
Altman in 2019
Born
Samuel H. Altman

(1985-04-22) April 22, 1985 (age 35)
NationalityAmerican
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materStanford University (dropped out)
OccupationEntrepreneur
Known forLoopt, Y Combinator, OpenAI
TitleCEO of OpenAI LP and former president of Y Combinator
Websiteblog.samaltman.com Edit this at Wikidata

Samuel H. "Sam" Altman (/ˈɔːltmən/; born April 22, 1985) is an American entrepreneur, investor, programmer, and blogger.[1] He is the CEO of OpenAI and the former president of Y Combinator.[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Altman grew up in St. Louis, Missouri; his mother is a dermatologist. He received his first computer at the age of 8.[4] He was raised Jewish.[5] He attended John Burroughs School for high school and studied computer science at Stanford University until dropping out in 2005.[6] While studying at Stanford, he worked in the AI Lab.[7] In 2017, he received an honorary degree from the University of Waterloo.[8]

Career[edit]

Loopt[edit]

In 2005, at age 19,[9] Altman co-founded and became CEO of Loopt,[10] a location-based social networking mobile application. After raising more than $30M in venture capital, Loopt was shut down in 2012 after failing to get traction. It was acquired by the Green Dot Corporation for $43.4 million.[11][12]

Y Combinator[edit]

Altman began as a part-time partner at Y Combinator in 2011.[7][13] In February 2014, Altman was named president of Y Combinator by its cofounder Paul Graham.[14][15] His first batch of investments included Loopt. In a 2014 blog post, Altman said that the total valuation of Y Combinator companies had surpassed $65 billion, including well-known companies like Airbnb, Dropbox, Zenefits and Stripe.[16] In September 2016, Altman announced that he would become president of YC Group, which includes Y Combinator and other units.[17]

Altman has said that he hopes to expand Y Combinator to fund 1,000 new companies per year. He has also tried to expand the types of companies funded by YC, especially 'hard technology' companies.[18]

In October 2015, Altman announced YC Continuity, a $700 million growth-stage equity fund that invests in YC companies.[19] Also in October 2015, Altman announced Y Combinator Research, a non-profit research lab, and donated $10 million to the group.[20] YC Research has thus far announced research on basic income, the future of computing, education, and building new cities.[21]

Altman was named the top investor under 30 by Forbes in 2015,[22] one of the "Best Young Entrepreneurs in Technology" by BusinessWeek in 2008[23] and listed as one of the five most interesting startup founders between 1979 and 2009 by his colleague Paul Graham.[24]

In March 2019, YC announced Altman's transitioning into a Chairman position to focus more on OpenAI.[25] This decision came shortly after YC announced it will be moving its headquarters to San Francisco.[26] Today, he is no longer affiliated with YC.

Angel investing[edit]

He is an investor in many companies, including Airbnb, Stripe, Reddit, Asana, Pinterest, Teespring, Zenefits, FarmLogs, True North, Shoptiques, Instacart, Optimizely, Verbling, Soylent, Reserve, Vicarious, Clever, Notable PDF (now Kami)[27][28] and Change.org.[29]

He was the CEO of Reddit for eight days in 2014 after CEO Yishan Wong resigned.[30] He announced the return of Steve Huffman as CEO on July 10, 2015.[31]

Nuclear energy[edit]

He is chairman of the board for Helion and Oklo, two nuclear energy companies. He has said that nuclear energy is one of the most important areas of technological development.[32]

OpenAI[edit]

Nancy Pelosi presenting Altman with an award at the 2017 GLAAD Gala.

Altman is the CEO of OpenAI. OpenAI is a for profit research company whose goal is to advance digital intelligence in a way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole, rather than cause harm.[33]

Philanthropy[edit]

During the COVID-19 pandemic Altman helped fund and create Project Covalence which helps researchers rapidly launch clinical trials in partnership with TrialSpark a clinical trial startup.[34][35]

Politics[edit]

In 2019 Altman held a fundraiser at his house in San Francisco for Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. [36]

In May 2020 Altman donated $250k to American Bridge 21st century, a Super-PAC supporting Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. [37][38]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sam Altman". SamAltman.com. Archived from the original on December 11, 2015. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  2. ^ Graham, Paul (April 24, 2014). "Sam Altman for President". Y Combinator. Archived from the original on March 25, 2017. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
  3. ^ "OpenAI". Archived from the original on August 8, 2017. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
  4. ^ Junod, Tom (December 18, 2014). "How Venture Capitalists Find Opportunities in the Future". Esquire. Archived from the original on December 20, 2015. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  5. ^ "Sam Altman's Manifest Destiny". NewYorker.com. The New Yorker. Archived from the original on 17 May 2017. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  6. ^ "People". Y Combinator. Archived from the original on June 25, 2014. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Sam Altman - President, YC Group @ Y Combinator | Crunchbase". Crunchbase. Archived from the original on 2018-02-20. Retrieved 2018-02-20.
  8. ^ "Spring 2017 honorary and award recipients". Registrar's Office. University of Waterloo. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  9. ^ Ankeny, Jason (April 25, 2015). "Meet Y Combinator's Bold Whiz Kid Boss". Archived from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  10. ^ "Executives". Loopt. Archived from the original on February 16, 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  11. ^ "Startup Loopt Lands with Green Dot". Wall Street Journal. March 9, 2012. Archived from the original on March 13, 2012. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  12. ^ "Sam Altman: Why customer love is all you need | Masters of Scale podcast". WaitWhat. Archived from the original on 2018-03-20. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  13. ^ "Y Combinator president Sam Altman is stepping down amid a series of changes at the accelerator". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  14. ^ "Garry Tan Says Goodbye to Y Combinator". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  15. ^ Graham, Paul (April 24, 2014). "Sam Altman for President". Y Combinator. Archived from the original on March 25, 2017. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  16. ^ "YC Stats". Y Combinator. August 26, 2015. Archived from the original on December 18, 2015. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
  17. ^ Altman, Sam. "YC Changes". Y Combinator. Archived from the original on November 7, 2016. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  18. ^ "Y Combinator President Sam Altman is Dreaming Big". Fast Company. April 16, 2015. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  19. ^ "YC Continuity". Y Combinator. October 15, 2015. Archived from the original on December 18, 2015. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
    - "YC Continuity". VentureBeat. October 15, 2015. Archived from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
  20. ^ "YC Research". Y Combinator. October 7, 2015. Archived from the original on February 15, 2016. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  21. ^ "Y Combinator Research". YC Research. Archived from the original on 11 June 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  22. ^ "Forbes' 30 Under 30 2015: Venture Capital". Forbes. January 5, 2015. Archived from the original on February 20, 2015. Retrieved February 28, 2015.
  23. ^ "Tech's Best Young Entrepreneurs". BusinessWeek. April 18, 2008. Archived from the original on April 28, 2009. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
  24. ^ Graham, Paul (April 2009). "Five Founders". Archived from the original on April 17, 2009. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
  25. ^ Loizos, Connie (2019-03-09). "Did Sam Altman make YC better or worse?". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-02-03.
  26. ^ "Y Combinator president Sam Altman is stepping down amid a series of changes at the accelerator". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-02-03.
  27. ^ Altman, Sam. "Angel List". Angel List. Archived from the original on May 9, 2015. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  28. ^ "How Notable PDF built an annotation tool for PDFs on the web". 2017-04-05. Archived from the original on 2017-04-05. Retrieved 2018-03-26.
  29. ^ "Change.org - Investors | CrunchBase". CrunchBase. Archived from the original on 19 September 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  30. ^ "A New Team At Reddit". Sam Altman. November 13, 2014. Archived from the original on February 13, 2015. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  31. ^ "An Old Team At Reddit". reddit. Archived from the original on December 26, 2015. Retrieved July 13, 2015.
  32. ^ "Energy". Sam Altman. Archived from the original on June 29, 2015. Retrieved July 13, 2015.
  33. ^ "OpenAI". Archived from the original on August 8, 2017. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  34. ^ "Teaming tech and pharma, effort seeks to speed Covid-19 clinical trials". STAT. 2020-06-16. Archived from the original on 2020-10-18. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  35. ^ "Project Covalence". Sam Altman. Archived from the original on 2020-10-22. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  36. ^ Russell, Melia. "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". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 2020-07-02. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  37. ^ Tindera, Michela. "Silicon Valley's Sam Altman Gave $250,000 To Democratic Super-PAC Supporting Biden". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2020-07-03. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  38. ^ "FEC Filings" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2020-06-09.

External links[edit]