Sam Altman

Samuel H. "Sam" Altman is an American entrepreneur, investor, programmer, and blogger. He is the former president of Y Combinator and now the CEO of OpenAI.

Early life and education

Altman grew up in St. Louis, Missouri; his mother was a dermatologist. He received his first computer at the age of 8. He was raised Jewish. He attended John Burroughs School for high school and studied computer science at Stanford University until dropping out in 2005. While studying at Stanford, he worked in the AI Lab. In 2017, he received an honorary degree from the University of Waterloo.
Altman is gay.



In 2005, at age 19, Altman co-founded and became CEO of Loopt, a location-based social networking mobile application. After raising more than $30M in venture capital, Loopt was shut down in 2012 after failing to get traction. It was acquired by the Green Dot Corporation for $43.4 million.

Y Combinator

Altman began as a part-time partner at Y Combinator in 2011. In February 2014, Altman was named president of Y Combinator by its cofounder Paul Graham. His first batch of investments included Loopt. In a 2014 blog post, Altman said that the total valuation of Y Combinator companies had surpassed $65 billion, including well-known companies like Airbnb, Dropbox, Zenefits and Stripe. In September 2016, Altman announced that he would become president of YC Group, which includes Y Combinator and other units.
Altman has said that he hopes to expand Y Combinator to fund 1,000 new companies per year. He has also tried to expand the types of companies funded by YC, especially 'hard technology' companies.
In October 2015, Altman announced YC Continuity, a $700 million growth-stage equity fund that invests in YC companies. Also in October 2015, Altman announced Y Combinator Research, a non-profit research lab, and donated $10 million to the group. YC Research has thus far announced research on basic income, the future of computing, education, and building new cities.
Altman was named the top investor under 30 by Forbes in 2015, one of the "Best Young Entrepreneurs in Technology" by BusinessWeek in 2008 and listed as one of the five most interesting startup founders between 1979 and 2009 by his colleague Paul Graham.
In March 2019, YC announced Altman's transitioning into a Chairman position to focus more on OpenAI. This decision came shortly after YC announced it will be moving its headquarters to San Francisco. Today, he is no longer affiliated with YC.

Angel investing

He is a personal investor in many companies, including Airbnb, Stripe, Reddit, Asana, Pinterest, Teespring, Zenefits, FarmLogs, Shoptiques, Instacart, Optimizely, Verbling, Soylent, Reserve, Vicarious, Clever, Notable PDF and
He was the CEO of Reddit for eight days in 2014 after CEO Yishan Wong resigned. As part of his investment, he developed a new way for the community to own part of the company. He announced the return of Steve Huffman as CEO on July 10, 2015.

Nuclear energy

He is chairman of the board for Helion and Oklo, two nuclear energy companies. He has said that nuclear energy is one of the most important areas of technological development.


Altman and Elon Musk were the co-chairmen of OpenAI. OpenAI is a for profit research company whose goal is to advance digital intelligence in a way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole, rather than cause harm.


In 2019 Altman held a fundraiser at his house in San Francisco for Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
In May of 2020 Altman donated $250k to American Bridge 21st century, a Super-PAC supporting Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.