We estimate that, as of June 12, 2024, OpenAI has an annualized revenue (ARR) of:

 $1.9B for ChatGPT Plus (7.7M global subscribers),
 $714M from ChatGPT Enterprise (1.2M seats),
 $510M from the API, and
 $290M from ChatGPT Team (from 980k seats)

(Full report in app.futuresearch.ai/reports/3Li1, methods described in futuresearch.ai/openai-revenue-report.)

We looked into OpenAI's revenue because financial information should be a strong indicator of the business decisions they make in the coming months, and hence an indicator of their research priorities.

Our methods in brief: we searched exhaustively for all public information on OpenAI's finances, and filtered it to reliable data points. From this, we selected a method of calculation that required the minimal amount of inference of missing information.

To infer the missing information, we used the standard techniques of forecasters: fermi estimates, and base rates / analogies.

We're fairly confident that the true values are relatively close to what we report. We're still working on methods to assign confidence intervals on the final answers given the confidence intervals of all of the intermediate variables.

Inside the full report, you can see which of our estimates are most speculative, e.g. using the ratio of Enterprise seats to Teams seats from comparable apps; or inferring the US to non-US subscriber base across platforms from numbers about mobile subscribers, or inferring growth rates from just a few data points.

Overall, these numbers imply to us that:

  • Sam Altman's surprising claim of $3.4B ARR on June 12 seems quite plausible, despite skepticism people raised at the time.
  • Apps (consumer and enterprise) are much more important to OpenAI than the API.
  • Consumers are much more important to OpenAI than enterprises, as reflected in all their recent demos, but the enterprise growth rate is so high that this may change abruptly.
     

56

1
0
1

Reactions

1
0
1
Comments8
Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since:

We looked into OpenAI's revenue because financial information should be a strong indicator of the business decisions they make in the coming months, and hence an indicator of their research priorities
 


Is this really true? I am quite surprised by this given how much of the expected financial value  of OpenAI (and valuation of AI companies more generally) is not in the next couple of months, but based on being at the frontier of a technology with enormous future potential.

 

Definitely. I think all contribute to their thinking - their current finances, the growth rates, and the expected value of their future plans that don't generate any revenue today.

Hi, thanks for this! Any idea how this compares to total costs?

Hi! We currently don't have a reliable estimate of the cost, but we might include it in the future.

I didn't check whether you addressed this, but an article from The Information claims that OpenAI's API ARR reached $1B as of March: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/a-peek-behind-openais-financials-dont-underestimate-china?rc=qcqkcj

A separate The Information article claims that OpenAI receives $200MM ARR as a cut of MSFT's OpenAI model-based cloud revenue, which I'm not sure is included in your breakdown: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/openais-annualized-revenue-doubles-to-3-4-billion-since-late-2023?rc=qcqkcj

These articles are not public though - they are behind a paywall.

The source for the $1B API revenue claim is given as "someone who viewed internal figures related to the business".

It's not completely implausible, but the implications for OpenAI's revenue growth curve would be a little surprising. 

We have fairly reliable numbers for ChatGPT Enterprise revenue (based on an official announcement of seats sold together with the price per seat quoted to someone who inquired) and ChatGPT Plus revenue (from e-receipt data) from the start of April; these sum to about $1.9B. It's reasonable to add another $300M to this to account for other smaller sources – early ChatGPT Team revenue, Azure (which we did indeed ignore), custom models.

So, with an extra $1B from the API on top of all that, we'd see only $200M revenue growth between the start of April and the middle of June, when it was announced as $3.4B – contrast with $1.2B between the start of January (December's ARR was $2B) and March (estimated $3.2B).

We estimate that

Point of clarification, it seems like FutureSearch is largely powered by calls to AI models. When you say "we", what do you mean? Has a human checked the entire reasoning process that led to the results you present here? 

There were humans in the loop, yes.

Curated and popular this week
Relevant opportunities