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Sam Altman wants to raise trillions of dollars, and Here's why

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ISN Team
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sam altman fundraising plans

After dominating the growing AI field, OpenAI Co-founder & CEO Sam Altman has set his sights on another ambitious goal. This time, he's focusing on funding, not just growing the user base.

According to American media outlet WSJ, Altman, who recently rejoined the company as CEO after a chaotic ouster, wants to raise trillions of dollars to expand the global semiconductor industry and power the growth of artificial intelligence (AI). 

With an eye on solving the acute shortage of AI chips that power technologies like ChatGPT, Altman's plan involves raising between $5 trillion and $7 trillion.

The funding would be used to build dozens of chip foundries, which would then be operated by existing manufacturers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). The move, described as "wildly ambitious," aims to address the supply-and-demand imbalance that currently hampers AI development, WSJ said.

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The need for expansion, according to Altman

The global demand for AI chips far exceeds the supply, a bottleneck limiting the growth of companies like OpenAI. Altman highlighted the critical need for more AI infrastructure, including fab capacity, energy, data centres, and a resilient supply chain, as essential to maintaining economic competitiveness. 

He said that as AI technologies advance rapidly, the existing infrastructure is simply not sufficient to keep pace with the demand.

Who can support Altman's ambitious goal?

WSJ report said that Altman is in talks with a diverse group of investors, including the government of the United Arab Emirates, senior UAE officials, TSMC executives, US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and SoftBank's CEO Masayoshi Son.

The plan also includes discussions with power providers and chip makers to create a partnership that would fund the construction of new chip foundries. 

Challenges and controversies

The report about Altman's ambitious goal comes amidst a backdrop of controversies and challenges, including his brief ouster from OpenAI and subsequent reinstatement following employee and investor backlash. His previous investments and ventures in the chip industry, such as the not-yet-formed "Tigris" and investment in Rain Neuromorphics, have also drawn attention in the tech industry.

Moreover, the semiconductor industry is currently dominated by a few key players like NVIDIA, which controls about 80% of the AI chip market, making Altman's goal of reshaping this landscape a daunting task.

OpenAI's revenue growth

Recently, the Financial Times reported that OpenAI has reached achieved a $2 billion revenue milestone last December. The report also said that the AI company believes it can double this amount by 2025. Currently, OpenAI is valued at over $80 billion.

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