Palantir Technologies, the Silicon Valley big-data analytics company, is planning to file to go public in the coming weeks and could start trading as early as the fall.
The Palo Alto-based company that counts PayPal (PYPL) - Get Report co-founder and billionaire Peter Thiel among its founders is preparing to register an S-1 filing confidentially with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Bloomberg reported.
Private investors last valued Palantir at $20 billion in 2015. It isn’t clear what valuation it may seek in an IPO. No final decision has been made and the company’s plans could still change, Bloomberg said, citing people familiar with the matter.
The potential IPO comes as Palantir expects to generate $1 billion in revenue this year and break even for the first time in its 16-year history, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg.
Palantir’s software mines personal and commercial data and looks for patterns. The company got its start in 2003 interpreting intelligence for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon. In-Q-Tel, the venture arm of the CIA, is a Palantir investor.
Palantir's software is also used by cyber security experts as well as hedge funds and other financial services firms. Palantir’s funders include Founders Fund, the venture capital firm started by Thiel.
Other investors include Morgan Stanley, BlackRock and Tiger Global Management.
Dozens of law enforcement and government agencies around the world use Palantir to compile and search for data on citizens with the intent of combating crime, hunting terrorists and in recent months, tracking the spread of Covid-19, according to Bloomberg.
However, the killing of George Floyd and global protests over racial injustice, in particular racial profiling and general bias among police and other institutions, has shed light on using technology and software like Palantir’s to glean information about individuals and companies.
Palantir’s software use by police and immigration officials, in particular, has sparked numerous protests and calls to ban the use of AI and technology in law enforcement.
The company's name is derived from "The Lord of the Rings": a palantir is an artifact used to communicate with or see faraway parts of the world.