Palantir trying to predict the future


photo via Business Wire

In recent years, you may have heard some rumblings surrounding a Silicon Valley based company named after the all-seeing stone from the Lord of The Rings franchise— Palantir. With pricey contracts ranging from the United States Military to BP Oil, Palantir Technologies has made quite a name for itself in the data analytics space. 

Palantir was founded in 2003 by Peter Thiel, an early backer of Facebook, and Alex Karp, an outspoken billionaire and the current CEO of the company. Palantir serves to look beyond the surface and identify hidden gems inside data. In its early days, founders Thiel and Karp had set out to create a company that would help secure America’s position as the strongest nation on Earth.

The country had seen itself rocked by the tragedy of 9/11 and the seemingly never ending war taking place in the Middle East. Although the internet was still in its infancy stage, this didn’t stop the pair from working on a project that would eventually generate revenues of over $400 million a quarter.

While the data analytics industry is fairly oversaturated in 2020, Palantir operates with a significant edge over its competitors. Whereas most other companies simply compile data and spit it back out, Palantir interprets data to effectively point out discrepancies or blips of information a human would not pick up on. 

When Palantir was first introduced, the company failed to gain any funding from venture capitalists. Ultimately, they had to rely solely on investments from Thiel’s own pockets, paying top dollar to some of the best computer programmers they could find.

It isn’t common knowledge, but Palantir has a tougher interview process than other tech companies like Google, Amazon and Apple. Out of all the data analytics companies, Palantir pays the highest and boasts a salary comparable to the tech giants previously mentioned. 

Even as Thiel, Karp and other members of administration oversaw a project without a single profit, they persevered, eager to one day bring about a future that had inspired them to found Palantir back in 2003. As the years went on, Palantir saw its number of contracts continue to grow, with customers such as the CDC, the U.S. Marine Corps and even the FBI. Their successes allowed them to gain necessary funding, and by 2014 the company value hovered around $15 billion. 

Despite these accomplishments, Palantir has seen its fair share of negative press in recent years. Palantir Technologies, notably Karp and Thiel, received widespread criticism for their involvement with the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE). Throughout President Donald Trump’s four years in office, immigration was a hot topic amongst the media and voters. Palantir’s tech had been implemented to track down illegal immigrants, drawing complaints over its “totalitarian” and “Big Brother-esque” nature. 

Peter Thiel was also an outspoken backer of the Republican party, drawing a stark contrast to Alex Karp, who has repeatedly spoken out against the Trump Administration. While the two hold vastly different political beliefs, none of these setbacks have seemed to affect the company in any substantial way.

With the rise of an increasingly technological society, Palantir has remained on the quieter side, preferring to hold off on a stock market listing until late 2020. Very few understand what it is that Palantir does, or just how powerful their data analysis really is. Although the company is already 17 years old, only recently have they really begun to attract attention.

No one has the power to predict the future, but Palantir is certainly trying to make this a reality. Despite the many road bumps that will come, keep an eye out for Palantir, as it seems they’re here to stay.