Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) are the most promising technologies in recent years. They are already heavily applied today, but their potential is seemingly unlimited.
In 2022, the global artificial intelligence market size was estimated at around $120 billion, and it was predicted to reach $1,600 billion by 2030 with a growth rate (CAGR) of 38.1%.
For years, one of the leaders in this field has been the OpenAI company. Although they have developed various products, the 2022 launch of ChatGPT has catapulted the company into the mainstream, both from the marketing standpoint and in the number of active users.
For more detailed statistics about ChatGPT, please visit our ChatGPT Statistics (2023) article.
OpenAI Statistics (2023) in a Nutshell
- OpenAI was founded in 2015 by Elon Musk, Sam Altman, and others as a non-profit.
- It transformed into a capped for-profit company in 2019
- Its flagship product (ChatGPT) became the fastest-growing platform in history
- Other notable OpenAI products include image-generating DALL-E 2 and transcriber/translator Whisper
- OpenAI’s revenue is projected to explode from $10 million in 2022 to $200 million in 2023 and $1 billion in 2024
- Microsoft investments ($13 billion in total) help fund OpenAI until it becomes profitable
- The website openai.com has over 56 million visits per day and as such, is the 20th most visited website in the world
- The latest investment rounds bring the valuation of the company to around $27-29 billion
- The company’s website, openai.com, is the 20th most visited website in the world, with over 56 million daily visits (about 1.7 billion monthly visits)
- Website traffic and interest in OpenAI have hit a peak and seem to be slowly tapering off
- Most users of the platform are male (60%) and younger than 35
1. OpenAI was founded as a non-profit in 2015 by Sam Altman, Elon Musk, and other partners
OpenAI is an artificial intelligence (AI) research laboratory founded as a non-profit on December 10th, 2015, and is headquartered in San Francisco, California, U.S.
Its founders include Sam Altman (current CEO), Elon Musk, Ilya Sutskever, Greg Brockman, Trevor Blackwell, Vicki Cheung, Andrej Karpathy, Durk Kingma, Jessica Livingston, John Schulman, Pamela Vagata, and Wojciech Zaremba.
Initial funding is somewhat murky, with Elon Musk allegedly being the biggest contributor. Apart from individuals, some companies such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Infosys, and YC Research were also involved in starting the company.
2. Elon Musk allegedly came up with the company name and invested $50 million in it, only to leave the company in 2018
According to Business Insider, Elon Musk said he came up with the company’s name and invested $50 million in its founding.
However, Elon left the company in 2018, citing “a potential future conflict [of interest]” with his work at Tesla. In 2019 he admitted that he quit because he was not in favour of aspects of what the OpenAI team wanted to accomplish. Nevertheless, OpenAI achieved extraordinary success by late 2022 due to ChatGPT.
3. OpenAI split into a non-profit and a capped for-profit company in 2019 and partnered with Microsoft shortly after that
In 2019, OpenAI split into a non-profit and a capped for-profit OpenAI LP, with the profit capped at 100 times any investment.
This has enabled the company to attract investment from venture capital funds and offer employees stakes (stock options).
Following this announcement, the company partnered with Microsoft, and since then, OpenAI systems have run on Microsoft’s Azure-based supercomputing platform.
4. OpenAI’s mission is to create Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) and/or other AI systems to benefit humanity.
The company’s mission is to research and create AI systems that are smarter than human beings to help humanity. Most notably, they strive to develop Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) safely and beneficially, as explained in their charter.
Some potential benefits of AGI they listed are a prolonged lifespan, driving the world economy, aiding with cognitive activities, and challenging the limits of possibilities and imagination.
However, many experts and non-experts have expressed concerns about this technology in safety, reinforcing biases in the training data, and in general, the “profound risk to society and humanity”. Over 1,000 experts have called for a halt to AI development, but such or similar policies have not been enacted yet.
5. The biggest breakthrough for the company was the introduction of ChatGPT in 2022
In late 2022, OpenAI received widespread media coverage after launching ChatGPT, an AI chatbot based on the language model called GPT-3.5.
Since then, ChatGPT has taken the world by storm and quickly found many applications in IT, publishing, marketing, finance, and other industries. Its popularity and performance were further boosted by the introduction of the GPT-4 language model in March 2023.
Growth and Products
6. ChatGPT broke all records as the fastest-growing platform (5 days to 1 million users and two months to 100 million users)
Starting from its launch on November 30th, 2022, ChatGPT has become the fastest platform to reach 1 million users (in only five days). To put this into perspective, the previous record holder was Instagram, with 75 days to reach its first 1 million users.
But the platform didn’t stop there. After its first month, it already had around 57 million users, and it took another month to reach its first 100 million users.
By doing so, it broke the record for the fastest-growing platform in history.
7. Other than ChatGPT, the company has other notable products such as DALL-E 2 (image generation) and Whisper (language transcription and translation)
ChatGPT is the company’s flagship product, but other essential OpenAI products include DALL-E 2 and Whisper.
Other than chatbots, image-generating AI products have seen the most hype and application in the early days of the technology. One of the leaders in this field is OpenAI’s DALL-E 2, a neural network that generates images from text. Advancements in this field have been staggering not only year-to-year but month-to-month as well.
Another important OpenAI product is a neural network called Whisper, which can transcribe speech into text and translate many languages. It was trained in 98 languages and currently produces quality results (<50% word error rate) for 57 languages.
8. Many global companies are embedding OpenAI products in their services, such as Microsoft, Duolingo, Stripe, Khan Academy, and many more
APIs, which enable external apps to be connected to OpenAI’s products, have enabled an explosion of applications in recent months.
Some of the most notable industries and companies that are using OpenAI’s products are education (Duolingo, Khan Academy), finance (Deloitte, Stripe), IT (Microsoft, Wix), and many others.
9. OpenAI is projected to have around $200 million in revenue in 2023, and around $1 billion in 2024
According to Reuters, OpenAI brought in about $10 million in revenue in 2022, estimated to explode to $200 million in 2023 and $1 billion in 2024.
However, remember that these are all estimates and that OpenAI has very high operating costs, most notably computational expenses and employee compensation.
10. Engineers at OpenAI reportedly make $925,000/year, most of it coming from stock options
According to levels.fyi, engineers at OpenAI are receiving a total compensation of around $925,000/year. Most of that number ($625,000) comes from stock options, and $300,000 comes as salary.
This is a common practice in start-up companies, as it aligns the interests of the employees and the founders and gives cash-short startups an opportunity to offer competitive compensation.
11. Microsoft invested $10 billion in OpenAI in early 2023, having a reported 49% stake in the company
OpenAI is currently spending much more money than they bring in. However, the private company already had several major outside investments, most notably from Microsoft.
The tech giant invested $1 billion in 2019, $2 billion in 2021, and finally $10 billion in 2023.
According to Fortune, Microsoft is entitled to 75% of profits until it recoups its initial investment, and after that, it will take 49% of OpenAI’s profits.
Microsoft has doubled down on this investment financially and with integration with its Bing search engine, Edge browser, and other services. The most awaited integration is the one with MS Office, which is reported to occur sometime in 2023.
12. OpenAI is currently valued at $27-29 billion
The outside investments from Microsoft and others, along with the latest investment round of $300 million, have put Open AI’s valuation at around $27-29 billion.
It is notoriously hard to evaluate private companies, but these numbers would put OpenAI already in or near the world’s most valuable private companies.
Website Traffic and Users
13. The openai.com website has around 1.7 billion monthly visits or over 56 million per day (June 2023)
According to SimilarWeb, openai.com recorded over 56 million visits per day in June 2023 or around 1.7 billion monthly visits. The growth was particularly stellar in its first months, almost doubling every month during the first four months.
However, the meteoric growth has slowly tapered off and even reversed, with the platform recording around 200 million fewer visits in June than in May 2023.
14. This makes openai.com the 20th most visited website in the world (June 2023)
To put these numbers into perspective, openai.com is currently the 20th most visited website in the world. This statistic is especially mind-blowing when we consider how young the company is, especially ChatGPT, which is the major traffic generator for the website.
15. Interest in OpenAI (Google Web Search) grew immensely in late 2022 and peaked in March 2023.
Two of the biggest peaks in interest around OpenAI coincide with the release of their most import product ChatGPT in late 2022 and the new version powered by GPT-4 in March 2023. Since then, the interest in the company (measured by Google Web Search) has slowly tapered off.
16. Most of the traffic to the site is direct (over 88%)
It is clear that most website visitors come there directly (over 88%). Around 10% of visitors come from organic search, and all other traffic sources combined make up less than 2%.
17. Open AI products are currently unavailable in certain countries such as China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc.
Although available in most countries, OpenAI products (most notably ChatGPT) are unavailable in some countries for various reasons.
Some reasons include ongoing wars, security and privacy concerns, regulation, and politics.
18. Despite the previous point, OpenAI caused the greatest interest in China, followed by many African and Asian developing countries
If we look at the Google Web Search data from Google Trends, OpenAI has caused the greatest interest by country in China from July 2022 – July 2023. The next countries on the list have received significantly less interest, with most of the frontrunners being developing African and Asian countries.
19. The biggest traffic-generating country for openai.com is the U.S., but many other big & developing economies are at the top
It is expected to see the U.S. as the biggest traffic-generating country for the openai.com website. Apart from the countries where their products are banned, other big (mostly developing) economies are in the top 5 in this category.
20. Nearly two-thirds of openai.com visitors are younger than 35
Unsurprisingly, the younger generations are leading the way in adopting new technologies that OpenAI has to offer. The leading demographic of visitors to openai.com is the 25-34 age group, followed closely by the 18-24 age group. These two together make up almost two-thirds of the visitors.
We can only speculate that many minors under 18 are using the platform as well but are not included in this statistic. This would skew the age distribution even further towards the younger generations.
21. Most visitors to openai.com are male (60%)
Another expected statistic is that men make up the majority of visitors to the OpenAI website. However, that number is significantly more balanced than, for example, the ratio of women employees in the tech industry.
While 40% of openai.com visitors are female, it is estimated that only between 25-30% of tech industry employees are estimated to be women. OpenAI products could make an impact in levelling the playing field in the job market between the genders.
OpenAI is a powerhouse in the quickly expanding AI world. Its products (together with its competitors’ products) are already making big impacts in virtually all industries.
However, as AI technology progresses, risks become more impactful. OpenAI’s mission and values seem to be admirable, but the inherent risks are going to remain.
The competitors are also not sleeping, with Google fighting hard with Microsoft and OpenAI in this field. Some other countries, most notably China, are developing their products, and it is safe to say that we are still in the very early stages of the AI race. Only time will tell who is going to come out on top.