Thrive Capital is reportedly leading a deal to purchase OpenAI employee shares that values the company at more than $80 billion. This reflects massive growth for the AI research lab, whose last valuation just six months ago was $27 billion according to a similar tender offer.
While OpenAI's stratospheric new valuation exceeds 60 times its estimated $1.3 billion in annualized revenue, it demonstrates investor optimism in the company's potential. Propelled by the runaway success of ChatGPT and continued innovation in large language models, OpenAI has experienced hockey stick growth since launching the chatbot in late 2022. Revenue skyrocketed from $28 million in 2022 to an annualized rate surpassing $1 billion as of this summer.
The tender offer continues OpenAI's momentum after April's $27 billion valuation, in which Thrive Capital also participated. Led by Josh Kushner, Thrive has shown a penchant for high-profile startup deals including recent investments in Stripe and Ramp. The reported $80 billion valuation dwarfs typical multiples even for high-growth tech firms, revealing Thrive's eagerness to expand its OpenAI holdings despite the high price.
Other investors are reportedly shying away from the lofty valuation, but OpenAI will likely leverage it to establish a baseline for a future capital raise. CEO Sam Altman has expressed ambitions to raise an astonishing $100 billion to fund OpenAI’s pursuit of artificial general intelligence. With Microsoft already committing over $10 billion, the startup has no shortage of investor interest despite emerging competitors like Google’s forthcoming Project Gemini.
OpenAI heads into the end of 2023 with tremendous momentum. Today, the company announced that DALL-E 3, its most capable image generation model, is now available in ChatGPT Plus and Enterprise. Next month, OpenAI will host its inaugural developers conference in November to preview new tools and connect with the AI community.
With blockbuster products and sky-high valuation, the startup remains firmly in the AI spotlight as it charts its ambitious course. Still, OpenAI must continue innovating to stay ahead of rivals Google and Anthropic. But with its war chest replenished, the company has ample resources to keep pushing boundaries in AI safety and capability.