VC Slams Sam Altman as "Megalomaniac"

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“For the same reason I don’t trust Elon, I just don’t trust somebody whose aspirations are so clearly about themselves.”

Overhyped

It’s no surprise that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is a hugely ambitious guy.

But his latest jaw-dropping fundraising efforts have even his fellow venture capitalists in disbelief.

Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that OpenAI is looking to raise up to $7 trillion for an AI hardware venture. That’s more than 14 times all of global chip sales last year.

Meanwhile, the ChatGPT maker is looking to raise funds at a valuation of over $100 billion, which would make it one of the world’s most valuable startups. As of last month, the company is valued at $80 billion, following a deal with venture firm Thrive Capital.

All told, it’s starting to sound a bit grandiose — and even VCs are balking.

“He’s a megalomaniac,” one unnamed venture capital partner, who has spent time with Altman, told Business Insider. “For the same reason I don’t trust Elon, I just don’t trust somebody whose aspirations are so clearly about themselves.”

Sam the Great

We’ve already seen investors make mention of Altman’s “reality-distortion field,” a reference to late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who was known to skew reality to his and his company’s benefit.

“He’s building the platform of Sam,” analytics and AI company Databricks CEO Ali Ghodsi told BI, “which is why his side projects get funded like public companies.”

Altman’s track record isn’t exactly clean. In 2019, he was reportedly asked to leave startup incubator Y Combinator after being accused of stuffing his pockets.

That event has been rumored to be at least part of the reason why he was let go by OpenAI in November, a tumultuous and chaotic week that eventually saw him return as CEO.

Months following the meltdown at the company, Altman rejoined OpenAI’s board, cementing his control and influence over the company.

But investors are starting to become wary of the immense hype surrounding the increasingly wealthy CEO.

“There are holes a mile deep in this guy’s résumé, but he’s managed to figure out how to take his chess pieces and move them correctly,” a startup founder and angel investor who knows Altman told BI. “And now one of the things went crazy and he’s an AI expert.”

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