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Sam Altman

Sam Altman

Sam Altman is an American entrepreneur, angel investor, co-founder of Hydrazine Capital, former president of Y Combinator, founder and former CEO of Loopt, and co-founder and CEO of OpenAI.

Sam Altman is a San Francisco-based American investor and entrepreneur, co-founder of Hydrazine Capital, former president of Y Combinator, founder and former CEO of Loopt, and co-founder and CEO of OpenAI.

Altman was born in 1985 in Chicago and was raised in St. Louis. He graduated from the John Burroughs School in St. Louis and studied computer science at Stanford University for two years until he dropped out in 2005 to found Loopt, a location-based social networking mobile startup, with seed funding from the first batch of Y Combinator. Altman served as the CEO of Loopt, which raised over $30 million in venture funding, until the company was acquired by Green Dot Corporation for $43.4 million in 2012. In 2012, Sam Altman co-founded Hydrazine Capital, a San Francisco-based early-stage venture capital firm that invests in life sciences, specialty foods, marketplaces, big data, healthcare, consumer networks, enterprise software, internet connected hardware, and education sectors with his brother, Jack Altman.

In 2014, Sam Altman succeeded co-founder Paul Graham as President of the seed accelerator Y Combinator (YC), with a focus on scaling the investment firm and enabling its growth over the long term. In 2016, Altman became President of the newly expanded YC Group, which included YC and other units, YC Continuity, a $700 million growth-stage equity fund that invests in YC companies, YC Research, a non-profit research lab partially funded by a $10 million donation from Altman, and the accelerator's new online class. He stepped down as President of YC Group in 2019.

In 2015, Altman co-founded OpenAI, a nonprofit artificial intelligence research and deployment company with the stated mission, "to ensure that artificial general intelligence- highly autonomous systems that outperform humans at most economically valuable work- benefits all of humanity." Altman, who serves as CEO, co-founded OpenAI with Greg Brockman, who serves as CTO, Ilya Sutskever, who serves as research director, Trevor Blackwell, Vicki Cheung, Andrej Karpathy, Durk Kingma, John Schulman, Pamela Vagata, Wojciech Zaremba, and Elon Musk, who served as co-chair along with Altman until 2018. Altman, Musk, and Brockman, along with Reid Hoffman, Jessica Livingston, Peter Thiel, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Infosys, Microsoft, and YC Research pledged a combined donation of $1 billion to fund OpenAI.

Sam Altman has made angel investments in Airbnb, Stripe, Reddit, Asana, Pinterest, Teespring, Zenefits, FarmLogs, TrueNorth, Rescale, Alt, Helion Energy, BRINC, TrialSpark, Roboflow, Wave Mobile Money, Humane, Coco, Kami, LeadGenius, Soylent, and Wevorce. Altman has made partner investments in Beacon AI, Apollo Projects, Cadoo, Boom Supersonic, Titan, Rescale, Reddit, Lob,, Fibo, and Quora. Notable exits of Sam Altman include Virool, URX, Swiftype, Quill, PlanGrid, Oyster, Optimizely, Nervana, Kimono Labs, and Exec. Altman served on the boards of energy companies Helion, UPower, and Oklo.

In 2008, Sam Altman was named one of the "Best Young Entrepreneurs in Technology" by BusinessWeek. In 2015, Altman was named the top investor under 30 by Forbes. In 2017, he was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Waterloo.


Sam Altman steps down as President of YC Group.
Sam Altman co-founds OpenAI with Ilya Sutskever, Greg Brockman, Elon Musk, and other funders who pledge a collective $1 billion for the project.
Sam Altman succeeds Paul Graham as President of Y Combinator.
Sam Altman co-founds Hydrazine Capital with Jack Altman.
Loopt is acquired by Green Dot Corporation for $43.4 million.
Sam Altman drops out of Stanford and founds Loopt with seed funding from the first batch of Y Combinator.
April 22, 1985
Sam Altman was born in Chicago.

Invested in


Further Resources


Behind The Tech with Kevin Scott: Sam Altman: Entrepreneurial prodigy, Y Combinator President and OpenAI CEO on Apple Podcasts


August 22, 2019

Career Advice from Y Combinator's Sam Altman


October 18, 2016

How to Build the Future with Sam Altman - Y Combinator


September 28, 2016

Pitching Tips from Y Combinator's Sam Altman | Unfiltered Powered by Crimson


May 11, 2021

Sam Altman - How to Succeed with a Startup


August 29, 2018


Ellen Huet & Gillian Tan | Bloomberg
June 29, 2021
Among the many parts of its plan, Worldcoin has designed an orb-shaped device that wo­uld scan a persons iris to build a unique personal identifier
April Joyner
May 11, 2021
Business Insider
Just two months after forming, AltC Acquisition Corp. is slashing its target raise by 60%.
Eileen Guo
May 7, 2021
MIT Technology Review
How the pandemic took the concept of universal basic income out of Silicon Valley's hands--and turned it into something far more radical.
Michelle Toh, CNN Business
April 21, 2021
Ellen Pao, the former Reddit CEO and venture capitalist, is urging companies to take another look at how inclusive their workplaces really are as communities grapple with a rise in anti-Asian hate.
Mary Ann Azevedo
April 15, 2021
We all know the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital adoption in a number of areas, particularly in the financial services space. Within financial services, there are few spaces hotter than B2B payments. With a $120 trillion market size, it's no surprise that an increasing number of fintechs focused on digitizing payments have been attracting investor [...]


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