- Softbank is considering investing in ChatGPT-maker OpenAI, according to a report in the Financial Times.
- Boss Masayoshi Son has been very enthusiastic about the chatbot, telling investors he uses it daily.
- The Japanese giant’s Vision Fund is going on the offensive over AI despite some high-profile losses.
Softbank is considering investing in OpenAI, with the Financial Times reporting that the AI startup is one of a number of options being looked at by the Japanese telecoms giant. The potential investment comes after boss Son told Softbank shareholders he was “chatting with ChatGPT everyday,” in comments reported by Reuters.
The Softbank founder claimed that his late-night conversations with the chatbot inspired him to begin aggressively investing in tech stocks again. One long brainstorming session ended with ChatGPT praising his ideas as “feasible and wonderful”, he said in comments reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Son has also met with OpenAI boss Sam Altman in recent months, and told Softbank investors in June that he speaks to the AI startup boss “almost everyday.”
The company’s $100bn Vision Fund, which was founded in 2017, has become famous for targeting buzzy high-growth companies, and for its eccentric founder, with Son reportedly comparing himself to Jesus and Yoda in one 2020 investor call.
The potential investment in AI comes after a difficult few years for Softbank’s giant investment arm.
The Vision Fund has cut back on spending and posted a record $32 billion loss earlier this year after several high-profile misfires —including investments in the likes of WeWork and FTX — with the company writing its $100 million stake in the latter down to zero after the crypto exchange collapsed into acrimonious bankruptcy.
Despite this, Son has signaled a willingness to go all-in on AI, telling investors in June that the firm was ready to go back into “offense mode.”
This offensive will likely be enabled by the massive public launch of Softbank’s British chipmaker ARM, which secured a $54.5 billion valuation in an initial public offering on Thursday, boosting the company’s investment warchest.
OpenAI and Softbank did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider, made outside regular US working hours.