AI hardware company from Jony Ive, Sam Altman seeks $1 billion in funding
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AI hardware company from Jony Ive, Sam Altman seeks $1 billion in funding

AI Boom —

A venture fund founded by Laurene Powell Jobs could finance the company.

Jony Ive, the former Apple designer.

Jony Ive, the former Apple designer.

Former Apple design lead Jony Ive and current OpenAI CEO Sam Altman are seeking funding for a new company that will produce an “artificial intelligence-powered personal device,” according to The Information‘s sources, who are said to be familiar with the plans.

The exact nature of the device is unknown, but it will not look anything like a smartphone, according to the sources. We first heard tell of this venture in the fall of 2023, but The Information’s story reveals that talks are moving forward to get the company off the ground.

Ive and Altman hope to raise at least $1 billion for the new company. The complete list of potential funding sources they’ve spoken with is unknown, but The Information’s sources say they are in talks with frequent OpenAI investor Thrive Capital as well as Emerson Collective, a venture capital firm founded by Laurene Powell Jobs.

SoftBank CEO and super-investor Masayoshi Son is also said to have spoken with Altman and Ive about the venture. Financial Times previously reported that Son wanted Arm (another company he has backed) to be involved in the project.

Obviously, those are some of the well-established and famous names within today’s tech industry. Personal connections may play a role; for example, Jobs is said to have a friendship with both Ive and Altman. That might be critical because the pedigree involved could scare off smaller investors since the big names could drive up the initial cost of investment.

Although we don’t know anything about the device yet, it would likely put Ive in direct competition with his former employer, Apple. It has been reported elsewhere that Apple is working on bringing powerful new AI features to iOS 18 and later versions of the software for iPhones, iPads, and the company’s other devices.

Altman already has his hands in several other AI ventures besides OpenAI. The Information reports that there is no indication yet that OpenAI would be directly involved in the new hardware company.