Sam Altman’s net worth – How rich is the OpenAI CEO?

Our estimate based on leadership roles and investments

Sam Altman's net worth estimate - investments and assets of the ex-OpenAI CEO.

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How much is Sam Altman’s net worth? Is the OpenAI CEO a billionaire? With several notable senior executive positions under his belt, spanning no less than 18 years, surely the CEO of OpenAI has amassed quite a personal net worth? The answer, of course, is that he has. But how much is this tech investor and serial entrepreneur worth?

Sam Altman’s net worth – The Artificial Intelligence investor

Sam Altman was doing quite well for himself at an early age, founding Loopt in 2005 at 19. He did this with funding from Y Combinator — a detail that will become interesting soon. Alongside co-founders Nick Sivo and lastly Alok Deshpande, Altman created a “service for smartphone users to share their location selectively with other people”. The service went defunct in 2012, and identical functionality has appeared in other apps since then. Such alternatives include the “Location” feature in Facebook Messenger, which allows users to “Start sharing live location for 60 minutes”.

Co-founder of Hydrazine Capital

Before going defunct, however, Altman founded Hydrazine Capital with his brother Jack Altman on January 1st, 2012, and sold Loopt to Texas-based FinTech holding company Green Dot Corporation for $43.4 million USD. Since then, Hydrazine Capital has invested upwards of $70 million USD into the “life sciences, specialty foods, marketplaces, big data, healthcare, consumer networks, enterprise software, internet-connected hardware, and education industries.” Perhaps most notably, Hydrazine Capital contributed to the series A funding for FlexPort and Patreon. Today, Hydrazine Capital Group LLC has less than $150 million USD in assets, and corporate ownership is exclusively divided between Sam Altman and Jack Altman.

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CEO of Reddit

While Jack Altman went on to co-found Lattice with Eric Koslow, who remains on the executive board but not C-Suite management, Sam became the CEO of Reddit for eight days in 2014. He led a $50 million USD funding raise that same year but was not CEO at that time. Prior to becoming CEO, he was already on the board of directors, which led to his swift recommendation for the role. He succeeded Yishan Wong, CEO since March 2012, and was succeeded by Ellen Pao as interim CEO, until July 10th 2015, when she was succeeded by Co-founder and Chairman Steve Huffman.

According to Glassdoor, the “estimated total pay for a Chief Executive Officer at Reddit is $355,812 per year”. Regardless of the accuracy of this estimate, this salary will have had little effect on Sam Altman’s net worth.

✓ Steve says

It’s all connected!

Yishan Wong was a senior engineering manager at PayPal as early as 2001. PayPal was a merger between Confinity and the original X.com, founded by Elon Musk. Musk was also a founding board member of OpenAI, connecting him with Sam Altman.

Wong has also been an advisor at Quora, which owns and operates ChatGPT competitor “Poe” AI. In addition, Quora’s co-founder Adam D’Angelo was on the advisory board that ousted Sam Altman from OpenAI. D’Angelo will remain on the new board with Larry Summers, joined by Bret Taylor as Chairman.

President of Y Combinator

Also in that same year, Altman was appointed President of Y Combinator by its Co-founder, Paul Graham. Altman was later promoted to Chairman of the Board of Y Combinator from March 2019 until early 2020, after spending five years as President.

It is unknown what compensation Altman received during his tenure at Y Combinator from 2011 – 2020.

Co-founder and CEO of OpenAI

All of this largely pales in comparison to his work at OpenAI since 2019. OpenAI was co-founded in 2015 by Greg Brockman, Ilya Sutskever, Trevor Blackwell, Vicki Cheung, Andrej Karpathy, Durk Kingma, Jessica Livingston, John Schulman, Pamela Vagata, and Wojciech Zaremba, with Altman as Chief Executive Officer. Since then, the artificial intelligence research firm rose to a valuation of roughly $80 billion during 2023 — a valuation previously at the mercy of the board of directors who ousted Altman on Friday, November 17th, followed by Greg Brockman, and at least 747 of the 770-strong workforce.

Altman was fired as CEO and ousted from the board, along with co-founder Greg Brockman, in a collaborative decision between Ilya Sutskever, Helen Toner, and Adam D’Angelo, among others. After multiple days of deliberation, Sam Altman is now returning to OpenAI, taking over from interim CEO Emmett Shear.

Is Sam Altman a billionaire?

Few sources claim that Sam Altman is a billionaire. While this is a likely milestone this decade, provided things continue at the same pace now that Altman has returned to OpenAI, there’s no evidence that he’s a billionaire just yet.

Our Sam Altman net worth estimate

Having invested in many startups across various industries, notably including Patreon, Airbnb, Asana, Instacart, Soylent, Reddit, Pinterest, Teespring, and Stripe, former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has a nearly unpinnable net worth. However, despite his own claims of having “no equity stake in OpenAI”, it is very unlikely to be less than $500 million USD. A net worth estimate of $500 million to $700 million USD is reasonable at this time.