Watch CNBC's full Interview with Palantir CEO Alex Karp at Davos
Founded in 2003 by Peter Thiel, Nathan Gettings, Joe Lonsdale, Stephen Cohen and Alex Karp, Palo Alto, CA-based Palantir Technologies Inc. is a software company specializing in big data analytics. Palantir’s first major investor was the CIA’s venture firm, In-Q-Tel, has subsequently raised roughly $2 billion. Big Data is a massive industry that is predicted to continue to grow. Statista reports that in the United States alone, the Big Data market will grow to $108 billion.
Palantir began by creating an integrated data platform to handle the fraud- and crime-detection needs of enterprises and government agencies, while removing the tedious and complicated process of learning and using query languages. In pursuit of that goal, Palantir began by securing contracts with many federal, state, and local agencies and departments, including: The Department of Defense, the CIA, the FBI, Homeland Security, the LAPD, the Chicago PD, and the NSA.
Palantir has since expanded its client base through Palantir Metropolis, which has been adopted by various hedge funds, banks, and financial services firms, and Palantir Foundry, Palantir’s software product designed for corporate use, has been adopted by Morgan Stanley, Merck KGaA, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Ferrari, to list a few. Most recently in March 2019, Palantir directly beat out Raytheon for an $876 million contract with the Army; one of Palantir’s largest contracts ever. The contract will last for 10 years and makes Palantir a “defense program of record,” a designation the Pentagon only gives to its largest and longest awarded projects.
Plus, with the rapid growth of smartphones and the Internet, an insane amount of new data is created daily. Companies like Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) already mine users' data to create tailored advertisements. That means every single thing you click, comment on, or like is analyzed. Even the amount of time you spend on each page is looked at by machine learning algorithms to create targeted ads. That's why Big Data as a whole is worth $189 billion, according to PCMag.
Palantir was valued at roughly $20 billion in its last private fundraising round in 2015 and a recent Reuters article reported that Palantir is now targeting a new private round of funding at a valuation of $26-$30B.