Sam Altman Biography, Net Worth, OpenAI & Microsoft


From a precocious blogger in his teens to the president of Y Combinator, Sam Altman charted an unlikely path to fame in Silicon Valley. The curly-haired prodigy skipped grades in school, but found his niche founding a successful startup, acquired by Apple. After joining the exclusive accelerator that launched Airbnb and Dropbox, Altman took the reins to mentor the next generation of innovators. He gradually made waves by advocating radical ideas and investment themes that had not yet reached their time. How did this self-taught programmer grow from his humble roots in the Midwest to today’s technological landscape? His story is marked by bold risks, smart decisions and yes, a little bit of luck. But in Sam Altman’s driven pursuit of progress, he created an ethos of experimentation that enabled both business success and progress for humanity. So take a seat as we unravel the pivotal moments and idiosyncratic moves that defined the inimitable journey of this entrepreneur, investor and visionary.

Early life and education

Samuel Harris Altman was born on April 22, 1985 in Chicago, Illinois. He grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, in a Jewish family. His mother was a dermatologist. Altman’s interest in technology was sparked at an early age when he received his first computer, an Apple Macintosh, at the age of eight. His childhood idol was Steve Jobs. He attended John Burroughs School, a prestigious private preparatory school in the St. Louis Metro area. In 2005, Altman enrolled at Stanford University to study computer science. However, after a year he quit to co-found Loopt, a location-based mobile application for social networking.

also read: Sam Altman’s Love Story: Girlfriend, Boyfriend and More



At the age of 19, Altman co-founded Loopt in 2005. As CEO, he led the company until it was acquired by Green Dot Corporation in 2012 for $43.4 million.

Hydrazine capital

In 2012, Altman teamed up with his brother, Jack Altman, to found Hydrazine Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm. This company focused on investments in several industries, including life sciences, education, specialty foods, marketplaces, big data, healthcare, consumer networking, enterprise software, and Internet-connected hardware.


Altman joined the renowned startup accelerator Y Combinator in 2011 as a part-time partner. Later, in 2014, Altman was named president of Y Combinator, succeeding co-founder Paul Graham. Under Altman’s leadership, the accelerator continued to thrive, fostering the growth of countless startups and cementing its reputation as a powerhouse in the technology industry. He stepped down as president of YC Group in 2019.


After transitioning from his role at Y Combinator, Sam Altman founded OpenAI in 2015 along with a group of renowned tech entrepreneurs and researchers, including Elon Musk, Greg Brockman, Pamela Vagata, Ilya Sutskever, Trevor Blackwell, Vicki Cheung, Andrej Karpathy, Durk Kingma, John Schulman and Wojciech Zaremba. OpenAI is a leading research and implementation organization in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). Its core mission revolves around ensuring that the development of artificial general intelligence (AGI) benefits all humanity.

Other companies

Altman has held board positions at energy companies Helion, UPower and Oklo. He also co-founded WorldCoin in 2020 to create a global cryptocurrency that can be distributed fairly to everyone.

also read: Sam Altman Net Worth $500 Million Fortune

Private life

Altman is a vegetarian and openly gay. He dated Loopt co-founder Nick Sivo for nine years; they parted ways shortly after the company was acquired in 2012. Since 2023, his partner is Oliver Mulherin, an Australian software engineer. Altman lives in San Francisco’s Russian Hill neighborhood and owns a weekend home in Napa, California.


Altman was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by Time magazine in 2023, one of the “Best Young Entrepreneurs in Technology” by Businessweek in 2008, and the Best Investor Under 30 by Forbes magazine in 2015. In 2017, Altman was awarded an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from the University of Waterloo for supporting businesses through its Velocity entrepreneurship program. Later that year, GLAAD recognized Altman with the Ric Weiland Award for advancing LGBTQ equality and acceptance in the technology sector.

OpenAI vs Microsoft

In 2019, Altman shifted to focus on OpenAI, a company he co-founded with the goal of making AI accessible to everyone. OpenAI was initially funded by Altman, Greg Brockman, Elon Musk, Jessica Livingston, Peter Thiel, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Infosys and YC Research. In May 2023, Altman stated in his testimony in Congress that the company’s valuation was $29 billion. However, in November 2023, Altman was ousted as CEO of OpenAI in a boardroom coup.

Following this, Microsoft hired Altman to lead a new cutting-edge AI research team. Greg Brockman, another co-founder of OpenAI, also joined Microsoft, OpenAI’s largest stakeholder with a $13 billion investment. Interestingly, despite OpenAI’s high valuation, Altman didn’t take stock in the company, meaning he didn’t significantly benefit from the company’s exploding private valuation. In a surprising turn of events, Altman returned as CEO of OpenAI just days after his resignation. This series of events has led to significant changes in the balance of power over artificial intelligence, one of the most important new technologies of recent decades.


Despite its influential career and significant financial success, OpenAI and its leadership have become embroiled in controversy. Recent decisions and the company’s strategic direction have sparked fierce debates and discussions within the technology and AI communities.

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