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What is Palantir? This is what lies behind the controversial software company from Silicon Valley

Cross-country skiing, swimming, tai chi and qigong: it is well known how US entrepreneur Alex Karp likes to spend his free time. Much less information is circulating about what Karp is doing at work. Hardly any other tech company is as shrouded in mystery as Palantir, which Karp co-founded. "The core task of our company is to make the West, especially America, the strongest power in the world in order to secure peace and prosperity," said the CEO in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos. To achieve this goal, the company works with numerous security agencies in the US and Europe. The software offering from the Palantir portfolio includes tools with which big data can be conquered. The main aim of this is to prevent criminal offenses.

Company value downgraded to $ 15.76 billion

On September 30th, Palantir goes public in the USA. The New York Stock Exchange (Nyse) has priced the stock at $ 7.25 and the company is valued at $ 15.76 billion. In the last round of funding in 2015, Palantir was valued at $ 20 billion. The prospectus published in advance revealed that the company closed the past year with high losses. In 2019, the company ended its fiscal year in the red of $ 590 million, and in 2018 it was also almost $ 600 million on sales of $ 740 million.

Palantir was founded in 2004 by Alex Karp, PayPal inventor Peter Thiel, Joe Lonsdale, Stephen Cohen and Nathan Gettings. The investment company of the CIA In-Q-Tel provided financial aid. Palantir has seen steady growth over the past few years. The company employs more than 2500 people, is represented at 25 international locations and now operates its headquarters in Denver after moving from Silicon Valley. It was named after an omniscient Elbenstein from J. R. R. Tolkien's “Lord of the Rings”. Secret services, police authorities and private companies now have a business relationship with Palantir. The CIA, NSA, and FBI are on the customer list.

In addition, Palantir works with around 100 corporate customers. One of the major customers is the JP Morgen Chase bank. Germany is also “a key market” for the company, as Laura Rudas, Vice President for Strategies at Palantir, told the “Handelsblatt”. Here, for example, the Hesse police force works with specially tailored Palantir software.

Palantir is giving away pandemic control software

During the Corona crisis, Palantir made its software foundry available to governments and health authorities for free. This is a data mining program that uses algorithms and statistics to process large amounts of data in order to analyze trends and future developments at an early stage.

The USA, Great Britain and Greece have accepted the offer. The US agency Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has since been supported by data analysts in processing information about beds, patients, ventilators and medical care. The use of foundry was also an issue in Germany. The Hessian Ministry of the Interior, which already has a business relationship with Palantir, told the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” in April that it wanted to use the software “to provide generally accessible information such as the distribution of infections with the corona virus, bed capacities or the supply of protective equipment in to present a comprehensive picture of the situation ”.