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‘OpenAI Stock’ Searches Skyrocket by 1,200% — Is An IPO On The Horizon With Altman Back?

Last Updated November 27, 2023 11:27 AM
Giuseppe Ciccomascolo
Last Updated November 27, 2023 11:27 AM

Key Takeaways

  • Searches for “OpenAI stock” skyrocketed by 1,200% after last weekend leadership turmoil.
  • Anyway, the company has never mentioned a listing process so far.
  • An IPO could be a way for OpenAI to raise capital and expand its operations.
  • Would a possible listing of Sam Altman’s company affect Microsoft stock?

In a surprising turn of events, searches for the term “OpenAI stock” have skyrocketed by a staggering 1,200% in recent weeks, according to data revealed by business advice company VentureSmarter . This surge in interest has sparked speculation that the artificial intelligence research lab may be considering an initial public offering (IPO).

While OpenAI has not made any official announcements regarding an IPO, the possibility has gained traction in light of recent developments, like the CEO, Sam Altman, case, as he was first fired by the board and then re-hired.

If OpenAI decides to go public, it would mark a significant milestone for the company and could potentially have a major impact on the broader AI industry.

‘OpenAI Stock’ Searches Boomed

Google searches for “OpenAI stock” experienced a significant surge, reaching a 90-day high on November 18, 2023, following the public announcement of Altman’s dismissal. This spike in interest was followed by another surge on November 20, 2023, with searches increasing by 354% compared to the previous seven days, in response to reports of an employee revolt. These developments highlight the intense public interest surrounding OpenAI and its potential impact on the technology industry.

'OpenAI stock' searches
‘OpenAI stock’ searches chart

Since not being on Wall Street, OpenAI’s stock remains inaccessible to the general public, requiring accredited investor status for purchase.

Altman’s subsequent appointment as the head of Microsoft’s new artificial intelligence team, along with the onboarding of additional OpenAI employees, further fueled the excitement surrounding OpenAI. This move also contributed to Microsoft’s stock reaching an all-time high.

On the same day, searches for “Buy Microsoft stock” and “MSFT,” Microsoft’s stock ticker symbol, skyrocketed by 371% and 526%, respectively. MSFT is among the most frequently searched stock symbols, averaging 618,000 monthly searches.

Buy Microsoft stock searches
Buy Microsoft stock searches

OpenAI, the company behind the groundbreaking AI applications ChatGPT and DALL-E, currently attracts over 1.7 billion monthly visits to its website.

These developments underscore the immense interest and potential of OpenAI within the technology landscape. As the company navigates its current leadership changes and Microsoft partnership, it’s not clear how these events will shape its future trajectory.

Is An IPO Possible?

But is an IPO on the horizon for OpenAI? His former and new CEO, Sam Altman, said no.

“When we develop super intelligence, we are likely to make some decisions that most investors would look at very strangely,” Altman told Reuters .

“I don’t want to be sued by … public market, Wall Street, etc, so no, not that interested,” he said in response to a question on whether he will take OpenAI public.

If not going public, for sure OpenAI needs money to boost its operativity. This was evident in October 2023, when the company was in talks to sell existing employees’ shares at an $86 billion valuation, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg .

However, putting the shares on the market to list on Wall Street could represent a further form of financing for OpenAI. It would be able to attract more investors and expand its shareholder base.

Would It Affect Microsoft Stock?

Microsoft, with a substantial investment exceeding $10 billion in OpenAI, is also a publicly traded company (ticker: MSFT). Despite reaching an all-time high this week following the announcement of hiring Sam Altman, the stock continued its upward trajectory even after his return to OpenAI.

The intriguing question arises: how might a potential OpenAI IPO impact the performance of Microsoft’s stock? Could it pose as a rival, potentially eroding Microsoft’s market power?

A spokesperson at Venture Smarter  commented on the findings: “Microsoft’s stock rose to an all-time high, owing to the information and interest around the company’s decision to hire Sam Altman.”

“We now know the CEO has been re-hired by OpenAI, so it’s unclear where this leaves his appointment at Microsoft. And from the looks of things, there is a great deal of interest in OpenAI being publicly traded.”

“It will be interesting to see if the close relationship between the two companies will help or hinder each other’s value in the future as the dangers of AI become an increasing area of concern. Microsoft is the clear winner, with its stock value at a record high after capturing some of OpenAI’s workers,” he added.

All of these considerations may prove to be useless as Sam Altman said , earlier this year, that OpenAI has no plan to go public. But never say never.

What If I Want To Invest In AI?

As we’ve seen, it’s not possible to buy OpenAI shares since they’re not listed. But if you want to ride the AI wave, there are other ways you can do that.

ETFs With Exposure To AI

If you aren’t comfortable picking individual stocks, you could invest in an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that focuses on AI and machine learning. According to Fool , top AI ETFs include:

  • Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF (BOTZ )
  • ROBO Global Robotics and Automation Index ETF (ROBO )
  • iShares Robotics and Artificial Intelligence ETF (IRBO )
  • First Trust Nasdaq Artificial Intelligence ETF (ROBT )

Infosys

Infosys , an India-based IT consulting company, was an early investor in OpenAI. In 2015, then-CEO Vishal Sikka shared in a blog post that Infosys had financially supported the nonprofit AI developer, anticipating future benefits from OpenAI’s technology.

This prediction has materialized, as Infosys’ co-founder and chairman, Nandan Nilekani, announced at the June 2023 annual meeting that the company has adopted an ‘AI-first strategy.’ While not explicitly mentioning OpenAI or the investment, Nilekani highlighted recent advancements in generative AI, a technology mainstreamed by ChatGPT.

Khosla Ventures Acquisition Co.

Khosla Ventures , an early investor in OpenAI, provided seed funding in 2019 alongside the Reed Hoffman Foundation. Founded by Vinod Khosla in 2004, the venture capital firm focuses on early-stage investments in disruptive companies, guided by the principles of being “bold, early, and impactful.”

Khosla Ventures boasts a portfolio of companies, including notable successes in the fintech sector such as Block and AI-powered consumer lending company Upstart. In healthcare, their investments include liquid biopsy pioneer Guardant Health and innovative health insurance company Oscar Health.

While direct investment in Khosla Ventures isn’t possible, interested investors can consider shares in two special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) formed by the firm—Khosla Ventures Acquisition Co. (KVSA) and Khosla Ventures Acquisition Co. III (KVSC), both of which conducted IPOs in March 2021.

Microsoft

Obviously, the optimal investment route for exposure to OpenAI is through Microsoft (MSFT) . Bill Gates’ company initially invested $1 billion in OpenAI in 2019 and collaborated on AI supercomputing technologies for the Azure cloud platform. OpenAI migrated its services to Azure as part of the agreement, designating Microsoft as its preferred partner for marketing new AI technologies.

In 2021, Microsoft increased its investment in OpenAI. The launch of AI chatbot ChatGPT in late 2022 further solidified the partnership. In January 2023, Microsoft extended the collaboration into a third phase, with Microsoft Azure becoming OpenAI’s exclusive cloud provider.

While the exact amount of the additional investment remains undisclosed, reports suggest Microsoft injected an additional $10 billion into OpenAI. Under the agreement, Microsoft will receive 75% of OpenAI’s profits until it recovers its full investment. After that, it will hold a 49% stake in the AI developer.

In 2023, Microsoft aggressively integrated OpenAI’s technology into its applications. GPT-4, the most advanced AI Large Language Model (LLM) from OpenAI, powers Microsoft’s Bing search engine. The integration initially stirred attention with occasional unconventional responses, prompting Microsoft to address and minimize such occurrences.

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