Palantir relentlessly raising funds
According to a new SEC filing, American software and services company, Palantir, has raised another $20 million. This follows Palantir's $880 million funding round in December 2015. The company, till date, has raised over $2 billion, and is currently valued at $20 billion. We take a look at this secretive outfit which provides government, finance and healthcare organizations with analytics and security.
The origins of Palantir
Incorporated in May 2003 in the US, Palantir Technologies is a software and services company specializing in big data analysis. Founded by Peter Thiel, Alex Karp, Joe Lonsdale, Nathan Gettings and Stephen Cohen, Palantir received initial fundings of $2 million from the CIA's venture arm In-Q-Tel, and $30 million from Thiel's firm Founders Fund.
Palantir's early days
Using pilots facilitated by In-Q-Tel, Palantir initially developed its software and technology based on anti-fraud technology developed at PayPal. Palantir argued that an adaptive adversary in the cyber world could not be defeated solely by computers equipped with artificial intelligence, and thus advocated the use of human analysts to interpret intelligence data from several sources - a practice known as intelligence augmentation.
Palantir is known for two particular softwares - Palantir Gotham and Palantir Metropolis. The former is used by counter-terrorism analysts in several organizations including the US Department of Defense, InfoWar Monitor (IWM) etc., while the latter is used by banks, financial services firms etc.
Palantir's claim to fame
In 2009, Palantir's partner InfoWar Monitor (IWM) used Palantir's cyber intelligence platform to uncover a China-based cyber espionage network, dubbed "GhostNet", which had infiltrated over 1200 computers across 103 countries, including computers in several foreign ministries, NATO headquarters, the Dalai Lama's office and so on. In 2010, using Palantir's software, another China-based cyber espionage network, called the "Shadow Network" was uncovered.
The extent of the Shadow Network's infiltration
The "Shadow Network" had infiltrated and accessed documents from the Indian embassies in Moscow and Kabul, the National Security Council Secretariat of India, India's Military Engineering Services, the Army Institute of Technology in Pune, the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses and so on.
Palantir continues to expand
Following its rise to fame, Palantir continued to expand, and sealed a deal with Thomson Reuters in April 2010. In 2013, a document leaked to TechCrunch revealed a few of Palantir's clients, the likes of which included the CIA, FBI, NSA, US Marine Corps, US Air Force, Special Operations Command, among others. By November 2014, Palantir was valued at $15 billion.