ChatGPT maker OpenAI to open London office in major UK tech boost

OpenAI London Image credit: monticello via Shutterstock

OpenAI, the US firm known for ChatGPT and DALL-E, has picked London as the destination for its first international office, in a major boost to the UK’s AI sector.

Founded in 2015 by a group of tech entrepreneurs including Sam Altman and Elon Musk, OpenAI has become one of the most prominent companies in the AI industry and is responsible for bringing generative AI into the mainstream.

The San Francisco-based firm has experienced extremely rapid growth in the past year, raising more than $10bn in 2023, and is now looking to broaden its international scope with a European HQ.

The decision comes as a significant vote of confidence for the city’s fast-growing AI sector at a time of significant international competition.

“We are thrilled to extend our research and development footprint into London, a city globally renowned for its rich culture and exceptional talent pool,” said Diane Yoon, OpenAI’s VP of People.

“We are eager to build dynamic teams in research, engineering, and go-to-market functions, as well as other areas, to reinforce our efforts in creating and promoting safe AGI [artificial general intelligence].”

The company said the London team will focus on advancing OpenAI’s research and engineering capabilities and will collaborate with local communities and policymakers.

“We see this expansion as an opportunity to attract world-class talent and drive innovation in AGI development and policy,” said Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI.

“We’re excited about what the future holds and to see the contributions our London office will make towards building and deploying safe AI.”

OpenAI currently has four positions in London listed on its careers page, including UK policy and partnerships lead and solutions architect.

Chloe Smith, the UK tech secretary, said: “OpenAI’s decision to expand into London as their first international office is another vote of confidence for Britain as an AI powerhouse and, in OpenAI’s own words, for our vibrant technology ecosystem and exceptional talent.

“Our AI sector already employs more than 50,000 people across the country, and we will continue to foster an approach which unlocks opportunity and cements our place as a global destination for artificial intelligence.”

While OpenAI’s move is a win for London, a studio owned by Activision Blizzard snubbed Britain to establish a base in Barcelona after the UK’s competition regulator blocked the $69bn acquisition, stating it will “reassess” its growth plans in the country.