Data analytics company Palantir files to go public

By William Smith
Silicon Valley data unicorn Palantir is to go public via a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange, eschewing the conventional IPO route...

Silicon Valley data unicorn Palantir is to go public via a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange, eschewing the conventional IPO route.

Palantir describes its mission as being the augmentation rather than the replacement of human intelligence. The company has, to date, raised $2.6bn across 26 funding rounds, firmly establishing it as a tech unicorn.

Its name, inspired by the seeing stones from Lord of the Rings, betrays its mission of overseeing data across time to track trends and gain insights. The company was founded back in 2003 by Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal, known partly for his support for Donald Trump.

Palantir’s primary offerings are its Gotham and Foundry platforms, which are able to demonstrate the linkages between and provenance of data points, as well as track changes over time via the concept of versioning. Describing what it does as ‘data-logic’, the digital transformation of data it provides has applications in fields as diverse as law enforcement, insurance, manufacturing and defence. Customers include the likes of Airbus, BP and the US Army.

Including in the filing was a letter from CEO Alex Karp, who said: “In times of stability, the right software helps our most critical institutions serve their markets and the public. In times of crisis, effective software can be essential to an organization’s survival.

“Our software platforms are used by the United States and its allies around the world. Many of the world’s most vital institutions, from defense and intelligence agencies to companies in the healthcare, energy, and manufacturing sectors, rely on the software platforms that we have built.”

The letter went on to highlight what the company perceived as its divergence from fellow Silicon Valley stalwarts: “Software projects with our nation’s defense and intelligence agencies, whose missions are to keep us safe, have become controversial, while companies built on advertising dollars are commonplace. For many consumer internet companies, our thoughts and inclinations, behaviors and browsing habits, are the product for sale. The slogans and marketing of many of the Valley’s largest technology firms attempt to obscure this simple fact.”

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