The OpenAI Mafia

July 21, 2023
Tech Mafias

Company "mafias" are all the rage, and we here at PIN love to dig deep into the most influential 'Tech Mafias,' especially since we're huge on democratizing access to startup investing by supporting communities with all the legal and bureaucratic work when it comes to setting up a community investment club.

OpenAI's ChatGPT language model is the talk of the town right now. The company was founded in San Francisco in 2015 by Sam Altman, Reid Hoffman, Jessica Livingston, Elon Musk, Ilya Sutskever, Peter Thiel and others, who all together invested US$1 billion.

If you missed our previous posts, make sure to check the Twitter Mafia, Lyft Mafia, Stripe Mafia, Netflix Mafia, InstaCart Mafia, Dropbox Mafia, Revolut Mafia,Tesla Mafia,Square Mafia, Reddit Mafia, VMware Mafia, Amazon Mafia, SpaceX and Slack Mafia articles. Investing in fellow coworkers' startups, especially as a community or alumni group, is one of the best ways to get in early on deals as well as support the ideas and ventures of people you love and admire. Who knows what's around the corner in your own network and community!

Companies Covered: 

  • Anthropic
  • Living Carbon
  • Quill
  • Covariant
  • Alvea
  • Gradescope
  • Daedalus
  • Cresta
  • Pilot
  • Dishcraft Robotics
  • FabFitFun
  • Aidence
  • Adept AI
  • Perplexity AI


Founder: Sam McCandlish, Jack Clark, Tom Brown, Dario Amodei, Benjamin Mann, Daniela Amodei
OpenAI Role: Research Lead, Policy Director, Member of Technical Staff, Vice President of Research, Member of Technical Staff, VP of Safety and Policy
Capital Raised: $1.3B
Investors: Spark Capital
Stage: Series B

Anthropic is an AI-driven research company that focuses on increasing the safety of large-scale AI systems. Their research spans multiple areas including natural language, human feedback, scaling laws, reinforcement learning, code generation, and interpretability.

Living Carbon

Founder: Maddie Hall
OpenAI Role: Special Projects
Capital Raised: $36M
Investors: Felicis
Stage: Series A

Maddie is the CEO and co-founder at Living Carbon, a public benefit company fighting climate change by genetically enhancing CO2 capture and storage in trees.  Maddie has also worked as a Scout at Sequoia Capital.

Perplexity AI

Founder: Aravind Srinivas
OpenAI Role: Research Scientist
Capital Raised: $29M
Investors: NEA
Stage: Series A

Aravind is the co-founder of Perplexity AI, an AI-chat-based conversational search engine that delivers answers to questions using language models. He has a PhD in Computer Science and has worked at several tech companies, including OpenAI, doing research.


Founder: Ludwig Pettersson
OpenAI Role: Member of Technical Staff 
Capital Raised: $14.5M
Investors: Index Ventures
Stage: Series A

Ludwig is the founder of Quill. Quill is a computer software company that provides messaging software built for productivity. He also worked as a creative director at Stripe.


Founder: Peter Chen, Pieter Abbeel
OpenAI Role: Research Scientist
Capital Raised: $147M 
Investors: Index Ventures
Stage: Series C

Peter is the co-founder and CEO at Covariant. Covariant is an AI robotics company developing a universal AI that enables robots to see, reason, and act on the world around them.


Founder: Pieter Abbeel
OpenAI Role: Research Scientist
Capital Raised: $5.5M
Investors: Bloomberg Beta
Stage: Seed

Pieter co-founded Gradescope, which enables instructors to grade paper-based assignments online. Gradescope was acquired by TurnItIn in Fall 2018.


Founder: Jonas Schneider
OpenAI Role: Tech Lead
Capital Raised: $14.1M
Investors: Khosla Ventures
Stage: Seed

Jonas is the founder and CEO at Daedalus, which automates the production process of precision parts end-to-end through software.


Founder: Tim Shi
OpenAI Role: Member Of Technical Staff
Capital Raised: $151M
Investors: Sequoia Capital
Stage: Series C

Tim is the co-founder and CTO at Cresta which enables large human workforces to operate like autonomous, intelligent fleets. Cresta leverages artificial intelligence to help sales and service agents improve the quality of their customer service.


Founder: Jeff Arnold
OpenAI Role: Head of Operations
Capital Raised: $161.3M
Investors: Index Ventures
Stage: Series C

Jeff is the COO and founder at Pilot, which provides the most reliable accounting, CFO, and tax services for startups and small businesses. They partner with thousands of companies to help them grow sustainably and operate more effectively.


Founder: Sam Teller
OpenAI Role: Director, Office of the CEO
Capital Raised: $262.1M
Investors: Upfront Ventures
Stage: Series A

Sam is the co-founder at FabFitFun, which offers subscription services that allow its members to discover brands and products. Sam also is also a Venture Partner at Valor Equity Partners.


Founder: Tim Salimans
OpenAI Role: Research Scientist & Team Lead
Capital Raised: $14M
Investors: henQ
Stage: Series A

Tim was the founder and Chief Scientist at Aidence and now is a Scientific Advisor. Tim is a machine learning research scientist working on generative modeling, semi-supervised and unsupervised deep learning, and reinforcement learning.

Adept AI

Founder: David Luan
OpenAI Role: VP of Engineering
Capital Raised: $415M
Investors: General Catalyst
Stage: Series B

David is the co-founder at Adept, an ML research and product lab building general intelligence by enabling humans and computers to work together creatively. David was also the Director at Google Research.

Join our waitlist
Love what we do? Give us a follow on: