OpenAI signed a letter of intent in 2019 to spend $51 million on AI chips from chip startup Rain AI.

Wired reports that CEO Sam Altman has personally invested more than $1 million into the company, which says that it is working on neuromorphic processing units.

Rain AI
– Rain AI

OpenAI would spend the $51m as soon as the chips are available, with Rain telling investors that it plans to ship its first chips as soon as next October.

Sam Altman was CEO of OpenAI at the time of the deal, fired this November by the board for undisclosed communications issues, and rehired a few days later after staff threatened to quit.

Altman has several investments across Silicon Valley, many dating to his time leading startup incubator Y Combinator. The incubator is also a Rain backer.

The OpenAI CEO has also tried to raise billions for his own semiconductor venture, while OpenAI has considered starting its own chip business.

Last month, DCD reported that OpenAI hired the former lead of Google's TPU AI chip as the head of hardware.

Rain, meanwhile, says that it is developing digital in-memory compute chips based on neuromorphic principles.

The company's leadership was reshuffled last month after the US government forced Saudi Arabia-affiliated fund Prosperity7 Ventures to sell its stake in the company over national security concerns.