Who Owns OpenAI?

Several investors, including Microsoft, Khosla Ventures, Reid Hoffman, and a few others, own OpenAI. OpenAI is a non-profit research laboratory founded in 2015 with the mission to “ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity.” It is best known for developing large language models such as GPT-3 and Codex.

In this article, we will delve into the ownership structure of OpenAI, exploring its historical roots, co-founders, and the forces that currently influence its mission. We will also examine the implications of the Microsoft-OpenAI deal and how this partnership has reshaped the landscape of AI development. 

When was OpenAI founded?

OpenAI was founded on December 11, 2015, marking the organization as a prominent player in the field of artificial intelligence research and development. Since its founding, OpenAI has made significant contributions to AI advancements and technology ethics.

OpenAI Co-founders Breakdown 

Elon Musk 

A renowned entrepreneur, Elon Musk co-founded OpenAI. Known for his work with Tesla and SpaceX, Musk’s involvement brought visionary leadership to the organization, though he later stepped down from its board. Before he joined the other founders of OpenAI in 2015, Musk had founded and co-founded several tech companies. Though he later stepped down from its board. His contributions and influence have significantly impacted OpenAI’s early direction and mission to develop AI.

Ilya Sutskever

Computer scientist Ilya Sutskever has significantly advanced deep learning through his work in speech recognition and language translation, among other areas. Before Sutskever co-founded OpenAI he was employed at Google. He is still OpenAI’s Chief Scientist and has made a substantial contribution to the company’s success.

Greg Brockman

Greg Brockman is an entrepreneur and software engineer. He is OpenAI’s president at the moment and guided the organization through a period of growth. He is essential to the organization’s fundraising efforts and makes sure it has access to all the resources required for research and development.

Wojciech Zaremba

Computer scientist Wojciech Zaremba co-founded OpenAI after spending approximately a year working at Google Brain. He made a substantial contribution to the creation of new deep-learning algorithms while working at Google Brain. Zaremba developed deep learning, reinforcement learning, robotics, and natural language processing programs at OpenAI in addition to helping to hire leading AI researchers in these fields. 

John Schulman

While attending the University of California to complete his doctorate in electrical engineering and computer sciences, John Schulman, a research scientist at OpenAI, co-founded the business. In addition to leading the team that developed ChatGPT, he also played a key role in the development of open-source software libraries such as Gym.

Sam Altman

The location-based social networking app Loopt and OpenAI were co-founded in 2015 by Sam Altman, an entrepreneur and programmer born in 1983. He is a strong proponent of ethical AI development and application and is the CEO of OpenAI at the moment.

Brief History of OpenAI

In 2015, OpenAI Inc. was first established as a non-profit. Its goal was to advance friendly AI in a way that is both secure and advantageous to people. Both its research and development domains were seeing advancements at OpenAI.

However, the organization was not receiving enough funding to support its growing activities. OpenAI Inc. was forced to change its business model to a for-profit one with a capped profit.

Instead of operating exclusively on donations and investment funding, the new for-profit OpenAI makes money. Because OpenAI uses a “capped-profit” model, the company continues to prioritize its research mission over making a profit for its investors.

Who Owns OpenAI Stock?

Microsoft (49%), other stakeholders (49%), and the original OpenAI non-profit foundation (which adamantly maintains its autonomy as the leading firm continues to write OpenAI history) now share ownership of the company.

The Microsoft-OpenAI Deal

Microsoft and OpenAI have extended their partnership with a multiyear, $10 billion deal. The agreement will allow Microsoft to commercialize OpenAI’s technologies through its cloud and enterprise products, while OpenAI remains a capped-profit company.

The deal is seen as a major coup for both companies and is significant for the AI industry as a whole, signaling Microsoft’s commitment to AI leadership and its belief in OpenAI’s potential.

Impacts of OpenAI’s Current Ownership on its Mission

Easy Access to Funding and Support

Because of its ownership structure, OpenAI has been able to obtain a large amount of funding and support from several sources. OpenAI has a competitive advantage in the AI research community thanks to the diverse group of investors, who have made it possible for the company to access a wealth of knowledge and resources.

Concentration of Power

Even though there isn’t just one person or organization with the ability to govern OpenAI, the power is still generally regarded as not being sufficiently distributed among its investors. Instead, power is concentrated in the hands of a small group of investors. The organization may be influenced by the interests of its wealthy investors, which has led to worries about conflicts of interest arising from this concentration of power.

The Future of OpenAI’s Ownership

Acquisition by a Larger Company

A larger company, such as Google or Facebook, might buy OpenAI to acquire access to more resources. OpenAI would gain access to new markets and substantial resources from this ownership structure, but it might also cast doubt on the company’s independence and goals.

Public Offering

OpenAI may go public due to the necessity to quickly raise a large amount of capital and boost market awareness. On the other hand, this would entail that the business would have to answer to shareholders and come under increased public scrutiny. 

Return to Non-Profit Status

Assume that OpenAI’s present financial success causes the company to refocus on its goal of advancing AI research and development for the benefit of people. In that scenario, the business might think about reverting to its non-profit status to concentrate on its initial goal.


Does Elon Musk currently own part of OpenAI?

As of right now, Elon Musk has no shares in OpenAI. He did, however, once hold stock in the business, which he sold to Microsoft in 2018.

How is OpenAI making money?

OpenAI makes money through two channels: corporate technology licensing and individual subscription sales.

Does Microsoft own OpenAI?

Microsoft is one of a group of investors that own OpenAI. The exact ownership structure is not publicly announced because OpenAI is privately owned. However, some of the founders of OpenAI are part of the investors who own the company

Can anyone use OpenAI for free?

An OpenAI API key can be generated at no cost. Every new trial user who signs up typically receives $5 in credit. But this credit runs out in three months. Users can get an OpenAI API key and get a sense of the technology for free with the free tier.