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Business News/ Technology / News/  OpenAI's Sam Altman looking to raise billions of dollars for new AI chip venture. Here's what we know so far
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OpenAI's Sam Altman looking to raise billions of dollars for new AI chip venture. Here's what we know so far

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is seeking billions of dollars from potential investors to set up a chip making venture. He aims to establish a network of factories for manufacturing semiconductors, requiring significant funding and several years to accomplish.

Sam Altman, chief executive officer of OpenAI, during a panel session on day three of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024. The annual Davos gathering of political leaders, top executives and celebrities runs from January 15 to 19. Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg (Bloomberg)Premium
Sam Altman, chief executive officer of OpenAI, during a panel session on day three of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024. The annual Davos gathering of political leaders, top executives and celebrities runs from January 15 to 19. Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg (Bloomberg)

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has been talking to a number of potential investors in a bid to raise billions of dollars to set up a chip-making company, according to a report by Bloomberg. The 38-year-old entrepreneur is said to be looking to set up a network of factories to manufacture semiconductors.

Also Read | Sam Altman addresses ‘nervousness’ around Artificial Intelligence: ‘It's on us to…'

Notably, building a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility would require tens of billions of dollars in funding, and creating a network of such facilities will take years, Bloomberg reported.

Among the top people Altman has spoken to about funding the new venture are the UAE's Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) and Softbank.

Notably, Sheikh Tahnoon is the brother of UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and also serves as national security advisor, according to the Financial Times. Tahoon also oversees some of the country's most powerful investment funds.

The Financial Times report notes that it's not yet clear whether the new company will be a subsidiary of OpenAI or a separate entity. However, citing two people with knowledge of the matter, the report noted that OpenAI will be the first client of the new company.

An earlier report by Reuters last year noted that OpenAI was exploring the option of manufacturing its own chipset and was even evaluating a potential acquisition target.

The report stated that OpenAI had not yet finalised the move, but that the company was discussing various options to solve the AI chip shortage. OpenAI was also said to be focusing on diversifying its suppliers beyond Nvidia and working with other chip manufacturers.

Why is there a need for AI chips? 

There has been a growing interest in artificial intelligence applications among consumers and companies since the release of OpenAI's ChatGPT over a year ago. This has led to a massive demand for the processors that are required to run these AI offerings. 

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Published: 21 Jan 2024, 08:53 AM IST
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