Is OpenAI’s Sam Altman the Next Bill Gates?

According to Forbes’ 2021 Billionaires list, nearly one-third of the 2,755 billionaires on the list made their fortunes in the technology sector. Some of the most notable tech billionaires include:

  • Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, who is worth over $177 billion
  • Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, who is worth over $151 billion
  • Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, who is worth over $124 billion
  • Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, who is worth over $97 billion
  • Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle, who is worth over $93 billion

These individuals and many others in the technology sector have had a significant impact on the world through their innovations and entrepreneurship, and have become some of the wealthiest people on the planet in the process.

Sam Altman may not be a household name yet, but he is well-known in certain sectors. Though not yet a billionaire, at the current rate, it probably won’t take him long to make the Forbes list. Various sources put his net worth between $250- $400 million in early 2023 at the young age of 37, while at least one did claim he is a billionaire.

Altman, who started his career after dropping out of Stanford, quickly became a successful tech entrepreneur and investor. Like Bill Gates, he seems to have the Midas touch when it comes to tech startups. He well-known for being involved in a number of successful ventures, including being the President of Y Combinator from 2014 to 2019. In this role, he oversaw the operations and investments of the startup accelerator program, which provides seed funding, mentorship, and resources to early-stage startups.

The Loopt App

Alok Deshpande came up with the original idea for the Loopt app that helped propel Sam Altman’s career in startups. Deshpande was interested in developing a mobile social networking platform that would allow users to connect with their friends and family in real-time, using location-based data to share their experiences and stay in touch.

He teamed up with two other Stanford students, Nick Sivo and Sam Altman, to develop the Loopt app. Altman’s technical expertise and Sivo’s business skills were instrumental in bringing the product to market, while Deshpande’s original vision for the app helped to define its core functionality and purpose. One feature that came later was using the location service to hookup with nearby strangers for casual sex . Loopt failed to take off as a social media app, but was sold to Green Dot for a healthy $43 million in 2012.

While Green Dot has since discontinued the Loopt app, it has incorporated some of Loopt’s location-based technology into its own products and services to enhance the capabilities of its GoBank mobile banking app that Altman also helped develop , allowing users to locate nearby ATMs and make purchases using their smartphones. (Go2Bank replaced GoBank in 2021.)

In 2014, Altman co-founded Hydrazine Capital, a venture capital firm, along with Geoff Lewis. The firm primarily invests in early-stage startups in the technology sector, with a focus on artificial intelligence, healthcare, and consumer technology. Altman was a managing director until 2019, when he announced that he would be stepping down to focus on his work as CEO of OpenAI. Based on the latest information I could find, it appears he may be involved with Hydrazine again which has provided funding for ValueBase.

The Evolution of OpenAi

After selling Loopt, Altman became a cofounder of and is currently the CEO of the for-profit company OpenAI, a research company focused on artificial intelligence. Elon Musk was one of the co-founders of OpenAI. He was part of the original team that launched the organization in 2015, along with other notable figures in the tech industry such as Sam Altman, Greg Brockman, Ilya Sutskever, John Schulman, and Wojciech Zaremba. However, Musk stepped down from the board of OpenAI in 2018 due to conflicts of interest with his work at Tesla and SpaceX.

What began as a non-profit research organization with the goal of developing advanced artificial intelligence technology in a way that would benefit humanity as a whole was transformed in 2019 into a for-profit company with the goal of commercializing its AI research. Elon Musk was not happy about this change. He believed that pursuing a for-profit strategy would ultimately lead to the development of advanced artificial intelligence being controlled by a small group of people and not benefiting humanity as a whole.

But Altman and the others believed that by commercializing its research, the company would be better positioned to bring its technology to market and to make a significant impact in the tech industry.

Despite the move to become a for-profit company, OpenAI has stated that it remains committed to its original mission of developing advanced AI technology in a way that benefits humanity. And they need money to do it.

Microsoft is one of the primary investors in OpenAI and has formed a partnership with the company to develop advanced artificial intelligence technologies. As part of the partnership, OpenAI uses Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform to train and run its AI models, while Microsoft has exclusive rights to license some of OpenAI’s technologies. In 2020, Microsoft also invested $1 billion in OpenAI.

Bill Gates himself, who stepped down from Microsoft in 2008, but is still involved through his foundation, has praised OpenAI for its work on advancing artificial intelligence research and developing new technologies that could benefit society. In a 2019 interview with MIT Technology Review, Gates said that OpenAI is “doing some incredible work” and that he is “very supportive of what they’re doing.” Gates also acknowledged the risks associated with AI development.

He thinks we will need a Universal Basic Income

Sam Altman predicts that AI will be a very disruptive technology for some careers, especially White collar jobs, and has been a vocal advocate for the idea of universal basic income (UBI), which is a system in which every citizen is provided with a regular, unconditional cash payment from the government. Altman has argued that UBI could help to address some of the major economic and social challenges of our time, including rising income inequality, technological unemployment, and the increasing financial precarity of many people.

Altman’s vision for UBI is based on the idea that technology and automation are transforming the nature of work and that traditional models of employment and income are becoming increasingly unsustainable. He believes that society can better adapt to these changes and create a more equitable and sustainable economy for all by providing people with a basic income.

He has helped initiate research to study and promote universal basic income (UBI). In 2016, he launched a pilot program in Oakland, California called the “Basic Income Project,” which provided 100 families with a no-strings-attached monthly payment of $1,500 for a period of six months. The project was intended to test the idea of UBI in a real-world setting and to gather data on its effects on employment, income, and well-being.

One of the main findings of the study was that the participants experienced improvements in their mental health and reported feeling less stressed and anxious. They also reported that they were better able to manage unexpected expenses and to pay for basic needs like food, housing, and healthcare.

However, the study did not find a significant increase in employment among the participants, and there was some concern that UBI might deter people from seeking work. The study also did not find a clear impact on poverty reduction or on other economic outcomes like savings, debt, or spending. Altman believes more research is needed if we are to determine how to make UBI work on a large scale.

Looking Ahead

Altman, always thinking up ideas and watching for new deals, has invested in many businesses that he finds interesting such as cryptocurrency and Helion, a company researching nuclear fusion. He believes that nuclear fusion could the answer to providing plentiful, cheap and clean energy in the future. Based on all that he has accomplished in his relatively short career, one expects that Sam Altman will soon make the billionaire list if he has not already. It’s too early to say if he will be known as the next Bill Gates’, or if will he be more like a Mark Zuckerberg. Either way he will likely be known as the guy behind OpenAI, which may or may not be a good thing. Only time will tell.


  1. Forbes:
  2. Crunchbase:
  3. OpenAI:
  4. Worldcoin:
  5. Y Combinator:

One comment

  1. This person is a genius. He is the founder of OpenAI and he is also a very successful entrepreneur. He has a lot of experience in the tech industry and he knows how to bring his ideas to market. He is a very interesting person and I think he will make the list soon.

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