Sam Altman is a prominent American entrepreneur and investor, best known as the former President of Y Combinator, a startup accelerator and venture capital firm, and as the founder of OpenAI, a leading artificial intelligence research organization. Altman was born on April 22, 1985, in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in St. Louis, Missouri.
Altman’s interest in technology started at an early age, and he taught himself to code while still in high school. He went on to study computer science at Stanford University, where he became involved in the startup scene and launched his first company, Loopt, a location-based social networking app, in 2005. Loopt quickly gained popularity and raised over $30 million in funding before being acquired by Green Dot Corporation in 2012.
After the acquisition, Altman joined the Green Dot team and worked as the company’s Chief Scientist for a year before leaving to start his next venture, a payments company called CardSpring. CardSpring was acquired by Twitter in 2014, and Altman joined Twitter as an executive for a short time before leaving to focus on his work at Y Combinator.
Altman became the President of Y Combinator in 2014, succeeding co-founder Paul Graham. Under his leadership, Y Combinator grew significantly and expanded its operations to include international locations in China and India. Altman also increased the size of the Y Combinator funding rounds and helped launch several successful startups, including Airbnb, Dropbox, and Reddit.
In 2015, Altman co-founded OpenAI with Elon Musk, Greg Brockman, Ilya Sutskever, John Schulman, and Wojciech Zaremba. OpenAI is a non-profit research organization focused on advancing artificial intelligence in a way that benefits humanity. The organization has made significant contributions to the field of AI, including developing the widely-used language model GPT-3.
In addition to his work at Y Combinator and OpenAI, Altman is also an active investor and advisor to several startups, including Airbnb, Stripe, and Reddit. He is known for his outspoken views on entrepreneurship, politics, and social issues, and has been featured in numerous publications and media outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CNBC.
Altman stepped down as President of Y Combinator in 2019 to focus on his work at OpenAI, where he currently serves as the CEO. Under his leadership, OpenAI has continued to make significant contributions to the field of AI, including developing cutting-edge models for natural language processing and computer vision. Altman is widely recognized as a leading figure in the tech industry and a champion of ethical AI development.
Dave McClure, PayPal cofounder and 500 Startups founder
Dave McClure was born and brought up in West Virginia. He founded Aslan Computing, a technology consultancy in 1994 and sold the company to Servinet/Panurgy in 1998. Thereafter he worked as a tech consultant to Microsoft, Intel and other companies. When he was in PayPal, he worked in the capacity of director of marketing from 2001 to 2004. Subsequently, he launched and ran marketing for Simply Hired in 2005 and 2006. Along with David Sacks, Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman, Peter Thiel, Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, Russel Simmons, Max Levchin, Premal Shah and others, he was a member of the ‘PayPal Mafia‘.
Once Dave left PayPal, he became an investor in several consumer Internet startup companies. During the summer of 2009, Dave was acting investment director for Facebook fbFund. fbFund was a joint venture incubator/accelerator with major venture capital firms Founders Fund and Accel Partners which provided early-stage capital to startups using Facebook Platform & Facebook Connect.
In 2010, Dave McClure founded 500 Startups. 500 Startups is an venture fund and seed accelerator founded which he founded along with Christine Tsai.
David Sacks, PayPal Cofounder, Yammer founder and Internet Entrepreneur
David Sacks is an Internet entrepreneur and investor in several Internet Technology firms. David Sacks was the founding COO and product leader of PayPal. Thus he was also a member of the so-called PayPal mafia. A term used to denote some twenty odd early members of PayPal. Other members of that “Mafia” were Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman, Peter Thiel, Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, Russel Simmons, Max Levchin, Dave McClure and Premal Shah among others.
David is also one of those immigrant Entrepreneurs who made it big in the United States. After coming from South Africa, he graduated from Stanford University and University of Chicago law school. In college, David Sacks was the co-author with Peter Thiel – of the 1995 book The Diversity Myth: ‘Multiculturalism’ and the Politics of Intolerance at Stanford. Before joining PayPal, he worked at Mckinsey as a management consultant.
He was also the founder and CEO of Yammer. Yammer was acquired by Microsoft in 2012 for $1.2 billion. Yammer is a freemium enterprise social networking service used for private communication within organizations. In 2017, David Sacks co-founded blockchain startup ‘Harbor’ as an incubation of Craft Ventures.
David has made investments in Facebook, Uber, SpaceX, Palantir Technologies, Airbnb and Houzz.
Max Levchin, PayPal Cofounder and an Internet Entrepreneur
Max Levchin was born in Ukraine but got his education in computer science in the United States. After graduating from college, he co-founded, along with Peter Thiel the company that became PayPal. PayPal went public in 2002 and in a few months, it was acquired by eBay. Levchin had a stake of 2.3% at that time and it was worth approximately $34 million at that time. Levchin is one of a group of around 20 founders and former employees of PayPal which is now referred to as the “PayPal Mafia“. It is so called because of their success in founding in technology companies after leaving PayPal. Other members of this “Mafia” include Steve Chen, Reid Hoffman among others.
He has co-founded the companies Slide.com, HVF and Affirm. He is also the co-creator of the Gausebeck-Levchin test, one of the first commercial implementations of a CAPTCHA. Levchin was also one of the early investor in Yelp, the social networking and review service that started in 2004. Moreover, he is the largest shareholder of the company owning more than 7 million shares. He is also an investor in Evernote. In 2015, he established the Levchin Prize, which $10,000 annually to people who have provided “significant contributions to real-world cryptography.
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