– Former Apple designer Jony Ive and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman’s mysterious AI device startup is in funding talks with major venture capitalists.

  • The company has discussed deals with Emerson Collective and Thrive Capital, with Ive seeking to raise up to $1 billion.
  • OpenAI, whose conversational AI could potentially power some of the device’s features, may own a piece of the venture.

    Jony Ive, former Apple designer, and Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, have started a company to launch an AI-powered personal device. According to The Information, The startup is now in funding talks with some of the biggest names in venture capital, including Emerson Collective and Thrive Capital, a major investor in OpenAI.

    While it remains unclear whether OpenAI would own a stake in the Ive-Altman venture, such a scenario seems likely, given Altman’s involvement and the potential for OpenAI’s conversational AI to power some of the device’s features. The proposed AI device is said to differ in appearance from a typical phone.

    Emerson Collective’s founder, Laurene Powell Jobs, has close personal ties to both Altman and Ive. SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son has also been in talks with the duo since the company’s inception, though the status of his involvement is unknown.

    The venture could face challenges in securing funding due to its high initial valuation and the unproven nature of the product category. Additionally, the endeavor may put Ive in competition with his former employer, Apple.

    Entrepreneurs are increasingly pursuing new hardware products that integrate with AI, aiming to provide users with access to chatbots and other apps while away from their screens. OpenAI and other firms are also working on large language models (LLMs) that could run on personal computers and other devices, potentially leading to voice-enabled AI assistants capable of performing a wide range of tasks.

    As the Ive-Altman startup continues to seek funding, the involvement of major players like Emerson Collective, Thrive Capital, and potentially OpenAI, could shape the future of AI-powered personal devices.