A state-funded Abu Dhabi investment company is considering whether to back OpenAI's not-so-secret chip venture.

The Financial Times reports that MGX is in discussions with CEO Sam Altman about helping fund the effort, which is seen as a way to reduce the AI lab's reliance on Nvidia GPUs.

Cerebras WSE-3
The G42-backed Cerebras WSE-3 – Cerebras

The FT earlier this month reported that Singapore state investment fund Temasek was in talks to invest in OpenAI, as the for-profit non-profit looks to raise funds for an ambitious chip development program.

In February, it was reported that Altman was seeking up to $7 trillion to cover both AI chip design and manufacturing, but he has denied the claims.

Even a smaller design-only effort could still cost enormous sums, causing Altman to look beyond traditional venture capitalism to sovereign wealth funds.

MGX was launched earlier this week as an AI-focused investment fund chaired by the UAE’s national security adviser Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan. The Sheikh was previously reported to be interested in investing in the chip venture, at the time known as 'Project Tigris.'

Tahnoon oversees as much as $1.5 trillion in investment funds, and is chair of G42, a UAE-based group of AI-focused companies. G42 owns a controlling stake in data center company Khazna Data Centers, is funding a geothermal data center in Kenya, and has a partnership with Microsoft to set up a sovereign cloud in UAE.

The company is also spending $900 million to build a series of supercomputers in the US featuring Cerebras' giant AI chips. G42 has also been accused of developing spying tools for the state.

As for OpenAI, it is believed to have evaluated a potential acquisition target in an effort to bring AI chip manufacturing in-house.

DCD exclusively reported that it hired the former lead of Google's TPU AI chip as the company’s head of hardware last November, and is currently building out a team to work with hardware vendors on "co-design of future AI accelerators."

Sam Altman is also an investor in neuromorphic semiconductor company Rain AI, which OpenAI has pledged to buy chips from.