OpenAI Startup Fund quietly raises $15M

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The OpenAI Startup Fund, a enterprise fund associated to — however technically separate from — OpenAI that invests in early-stage, sometimes AI-related firms throughout schooling, legislation and the sciences, has quietly closed a $15 million tranche.

In response to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Trade Fee, two unnamed traders contributed the $15 million in new money on or round April 19. The paperwork was submitted on April 25, and mentions Ian Hathaway, the OpenAI Startup Fund’s supervisor and sole companion.

The capital was transferred to a authorized entity known as a particular objective automobile, or SPV, related to the OpenAI Startup Fund: OpenAI Startup Fund SPV II, L.P.

SPVs permit a number of traders to pool their assets and make an funding in a single firm or fund. Within the VC sector, they’re typically used to spend money on startups that don’t match a fund’s technique or that fall outdoors a fund’s phrases. SPVs may also be marketed to a wider vary of non-institutional traders.

It’s the second such time the OpenAI Startup Fund has raised capital via an SPV — the primary time being in February for a $10 million tranche.

The OpenAI Startup Fund, whose portfolio firms embody authorized tech startup Harvey, Ambiance Healthcare and humanoid robotics agency Determine AI, got here below scrutiny final yr after it was revealed that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman had lengthy legally managed the fund. Whereas marketed like a typical company enterprise arm, Altman raised capital for the OpenAI Startup Fund from outdoors restricted companions, together with Microsoft (a detailed OpenAI companion and investor), and had the ultimate say within the fund’s investments.

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Neither OpenAI nor Altman had — or have — a monetary curiosity within the OpenAI Startup Fund. However critics nonetheless argued that Altman’s possession amounted to a battle of curiosity; OpenAI claimed that the overall companion construction was meant to be “momentary.”

In April, Altman transferred formal management of the OpenAI Startup Fund to Hathaway, beforehand an investor with the VC agency Haystack, who’d performed a key position in managing the Startup Fund since 2021.

As of final yr, the OpenAI Startup Fund — whose ventures additionally embody an incubator program known as Converge — had $175 million in commitments and held $325 million in gross internet asset worth. It has backed effectively over a dozen startups, together with Descript, a collaborative multimedia enhancing platform valued at $553 million final yr; language studying app Converse; AI-powered note-taking app Mem; and IDE platform Anysphere.

OpenAI hadn’t responded to TechCrunch’s request for remark as of publication time. We’ll replace this publish if we hear again.

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