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Global Illumination joins OpenAI design studio

OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, has acquired Global Illumination, a New York startup using AI to build creative tools, infrastructure, and digital experiences.

It’s OpenAI’s first public acquisition in seven years. The deal’s terms were unknown.

“We’re very excited for the impact they’ll have here at OpenAI,” the company wrote on its blog. “The entire team has joined OpenAI to work on our core products including ChatGPT.”

Global Illumination, founded in 2021 by Thomas Dimson, Taylor Gordon, and Joey Flynn, has worked on many projects. Global Illumination designed and built products early on at Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Google, Pixar, and Riot Games with VCs Paradigm, Benchmark, and Slow.

Dimson improved Instagram’s discovery algorithms as director of engineering. He helped start Instagram’s Explore tab, feed and Stories ranking, IGTV, and data engineering teams.

Biomes, a web-based Minecraft-like open source sandbox MMORPG, is Global Illumination’s latest creation. The game’s fate is unknown, but OpenAI’s work may be less entertaining.

OpenAI, backed by billions in venture capital from Microsoft and major VCs, has run funds and grant programs to invest in emerging AI companies and organizations for years.
OpenAI wants a commercial win. According to The Information, OpenAI spent $540 million last year developing ChatGPT, including funds to poach talent from Google.

OpenAI earned $30 million last year. CEO Sam Altman reportedly told investors the company will increase that figure to $200 million this year and $1 billion next year.

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