OpenAI’s $29 Billion Valuation Serves as a Preview of AI’s Promise and Uncertainty

After investing $1 billion in OpenAI in 2019, Microsoft didn’t turn many heads, as the tech startup boom was in full-force and artificial intelligence (AI) was but one of many markets seen with significant potential. Now, the budding technology is hotter than ever, with generative AI — which creates text, audio, and visual responses from simple prompts — garnering the bulk of the attention. And at the forefront of the craze is OpenAI, arguably the hottest company in 2023 thus far.

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In November of 2022, OpenAI launched ChatGPT, a chatbot that gained viral attention for its ability to provide human-like responses to user prompts about almost anything. Now, Microsoft’s big bet is a hot topic everywhere from the internet to corporate boardrooms, with venture capitalists and stockholders trying to figure out how AI can grow their investments. The software giant has reportedly invested upwards of $13 billion into the startup, which now boasts a valuation of nearly $29 billion.

Microsoft has already started building OpenAI technology into its Bing search engine, as well as its own sales and marketing software, GitHub coding tools, Microsoft 365, and Azure Cloud. However, the Bing rollout has attracted both positive and negative publicity, especially after some high-profile blunders.