How Does OpenAI Make Money?

Many people have been curious about how companies like OpenAI make money. Are you one of them too? Then you have reached the right place. This article will help find the answer to this question and also understand the functioning of the finances.

Let us find out!

How Does OpenAI Make Money?

There are various ways it makes money; they are:

  • Through Investments
  • Through Subscriptions (via ChatGPT Premium)
  • Licensing
  • Foundry

Now, we shall dive deep and understand each term in depth.

I. Investments

OpenAI invests in startups that focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI ). They are its primary source of income, and these financial commitments come from the ‘OpenAI Startup Fund.’ The fund size is almost $100 million, and in exchange for its investment, OpenAI receives an equity stake. The money comes by selling its shares at a higher price, which is different from the initial price it was bought.

Also, Microsoft is investing in it. The company invested around $1 billion in OpenAI in July 2019, making them the sole provider of cloud computing services to OpenAI, and Microsoft provides the infrastructure to expand OpenAI.

Recently, with their partnership, Microsoft gave them $10 billion.

II. Subscriptions

It charges a subscription fee for ‘ChatGPT Plus,’ the premium version of ChatGPT. You have to pay $20 per month to be part of the exclusive version of the chatbot. However, ChatGPT is still accessible to the public. The functioning of the premium version is the same as the free ChatGPT. However, you get better speed and performance with more tokens in the premium version.

III. Licensing

It also makes money with licensing, and they charge licensing fees on its AI models, which are on a per-unit basis. Here is how OpenAI has done the pricing; we have listed out the pricing of the language models:

(Prices are per 1,000 tokens.)

  • Fine-tuning models
Ada$0.0004 / 1K tokens$0.0016 / 1K tokens
Babbage$0.0006 / 1K tokens$0.0024 / 1K tokens
Curie$0.0030 / 1K tokens$0.0120 / 1K tokens
Davinci$0.0300 / 1K tokens$0.1200 / 1K tokens
  • InstructGPT
Ada (Fastest)$0.0004 / 1K tokens
Babbage$0.0005 / 1K tokens
Curie$0.0020 / 1K tokens
Davinci (Most powerful)$0.0200 / 1K tokens
  • ChatGPT
gpt-3.5-turbo$0.002 / 1K tokens
  • GPT-4
8K context$0.03 / 1K tokens$0.06 / 1K tokens
32K context$0.06 / 1K tokens$0.12 / 1K tokens

IV. Foundry

To provide enterprise clients with a more reliable infrastructure and volume, OpenAI introduced a new enterprise service called Foundry. Foundry is just an augmentation of the API service. GPT-3.5 will cost you approximately $78,000 over three months or $264,000 over a year.


I. Is Elon Musk an investor in OpenAI?

OpenAI no longer includes Elon Musk as a shareholder; he is not a member of the board and does not influence anymore.

II. Who owns the stock?

Although privately owned, Microsoft has a sizable stake in Open AI. They made a $1 billion investment in 2019, and they hold the license for GPT-3.

III. Is GPT-3 available for everyone?

Yes, it is free to the public. GPT-3 can be used for a wide range of writing jobs, from coming up with a catchy one-liner to writing thought-provoking poetry.


To conclude, here is how it makes money:

  • Through Investments
  • Through Subscriptions (via ChatGPT Premium)
  • Licensing
  • Foundry

More articles related to OpenAI: OpenAI Codex Vs. GitHub Copilot.