Machine earning: OpenAI's valuation looks set to soar again

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Complicated airflow

Talk is meant to be cheap, but OpenAI, the force behind the viral hit ChatGPT, has turned it into an absolute goldmine, with the company currently in discussions to sell shares at a valuation of $86 billion.

That's a remarkable three-fold increase from just 6 months ago, with the WSJ reporting an initial range of $80-90bn, before Bloomberg narrowed the figure to around $86bn, citing sources familiar with the matter.

That would place OpenAI among the most valuable tech startups in the world, only behind giants like ByteDance (TikTok owner) and SpaceX. For context, it’s also roughly equivalent to the value of 12 of the biggest consumer brands in America combined — a theoretical corporate frankenstein including SNAP, The New York Times, Etsy, Domino’s and 8 others.

Hype house

The launch of ChatGPT in November attracted more than 100 million active users in just 2 months, making it the fastest-growing app in history at that time. It wasn’t just the extremely online community that was excited either, as everyone seemingly raced to either develop, invest in, or use the chatbot for everything from coding to cover letters.

Over the summer, it looked as if the hype was maybe just starting to fade — though when you spark a tech revolution almost overnight, and hit a $1.3bn revenue run-rate with your first major product, it's fair to say you have a "position of strength" for any valuation negotiations.

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