Palantir Technologies

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Palantir Technologies
Founded 2004
Founder Peter Thiel, Joe Lonsdale, Alex Karp, Stephen Cohen, Nathan Gettings
Headquarters Palo Alto, California
Products Palantir Gotham, Palantir Metropolis
Number of employees

Palantir Technologies, Inc. is an American computer software and services company, specializing in data analysis. Palantir's original clients were federal agencies of the United States Intelligence Community. It has since expanded its customer base to serve state and local governments as well as private companies in the financial and healthcare industries.


Officially incorporated in May 2003,[2] Palantir is generally considered to have been founded in 2004 by Peter Thiel, Alex Karp,[3] Joe Lonsdale,[4] Stephen Cohen, and Nathan Gettings. Early investments were $2 million from the US Central Intelligence Agency venture arm In-Q-Tel, and $30 million from Thiel and his firm, Founders Fund.[5][6][7][8] Alex Karp is Palantir’s CEO.[9] Palantir’s name comes from the "seeing stones" in J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, the company has nine international offices and four in the United States.[10]

Palantir developed its technology by computer scientists and analysts from intelligence agencies over three years, through pilots facilitated by In-Q-Tel.[11] The software concept grew out of technology developed at PayPal to detect fraudulent activity, much of it conducted by Russian organized crime syndicates.[5] The company said computers alone using artificial intelligence could not defeat an adaptive adversary. Palantir proposed using human analysts to explore data from many sources, called intelligence augmentation.[12]

In April 2010, Palantir announced a partnership with Thomson Reuters to sell the Palantir Metropolis product as QA Studio.[13] On June 18, 2010, Vice President Joe Biden and Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag held a press conference at the White House announcing the success of fighting fraud in the stimulus by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (RATB). Biden credited the success to the software, Palantir, being deployed by the federal government.[14] He announced that the capability will be deployed at other government agencies, starting with Medicare and Medicaid.[15][16][17][18] Estimates were $250 million in revenues in 2011.[19]

In September 2013, Palantir disclosed over $196 million in funding according to a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing.[20][21] It was estimated that the company would likely close almost $1 billion in contracts in 2014.[22]


Palantir Gotham[edit]

Palantir Gotham (formerly known as Palantir Government) integrates structured and unstructured data, provides advanced search and discovery capabilities, enables knowledge management, and facilitates secure collaboration. The Palantir platform includes the privacy and civil liberties protections mandated by legal requirements such as those in the 9/11 Commission Implementation Act. Palantir’s privacy controls keep investigations focused, as opposed to the expansive data mining techniques that have drawn criticism from privacy advocates concerned about civil liberties protection. Palantir maintains security tags at a granular level.[6][9]

Palantir runs the site AnalyzeThe.US,[23] which allows Palantir customers and affiliates to use Palantir Gotham to perform analysis on publicly available data from,, the Center for Responsive Politics’ Open Secrets Database, and Community Health Data from[24]

Palantir Metropolis[edit]

Palantir Metropolis (formerly known as Palantir Finance) is software for data integration, information management and quantitative analytics. The software connects to commercial, proprietary and public data sets and discovers trends, relationships and anomalies, including predictive analytics.


Palantir Gotham is used by counter-terrorism analysts at offices in the United States Intelligence Community and United States Department of Defense, fraud investigators at the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, and cyber analysts at Information Warfare Monitor (responsible for the GhostNet and the Shadow Network investigation). Palantir Metropolis is used by hedge funds, banks, and financial services firms.[5][6][25][26]

U.S. military intelligence used the Palantir product to improve their ability to predict locations of improvised explosive devices in its war in Afghanistan. A small number of practitioners reported it to be more useful than the U.S. Army's program of record, the Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS-A). California Congressman Duncan D. Hunter complained of US DoD obstacles to its wider use in 2012.[27]

Infowar Monitor[edit]

Palantir partner Information Warfare Monitor used Palantir software to uncover both the Ghostnet and the Shadow Network. The Ghostnet was a China-based cyber espionage network targeting 1,295 computers in 103 countries, including the Dalai Lama’s office, a NATO computer and embassies.[28] The Shadow Network was also a China-based espionage operation that hacked into the Indian security and defense apparatus. Cyber spies stole documents related to Indian security, embassies abroad, and NATO troop activity in Afghanistan.[26][29]

Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board[edit]

Palantir’s software is used by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board to detect and investigate fraud and abuse in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Specifically, the Recovery Operations Center (ROC) used Palantir to integrate transactional data with open-source and private data sets that describe the entities receiving Stimulus funds.[17]

Palantir Night Live[edit]

Palantir hosts Palantir Night Live at Palantir’s McLean and Palo Alto offices. The event brings speakers from the intelligence community and technology space to discuss topics of common interest. Past speakers include Garry Kasparov, Nart Villeneuve from Information Warfare Monitor, Andrew McAfee, author of Enterprise 2.0, and Michael Chertoff.[30]

WikiLeaks proposals[edit]

In 2010 Hunton & Williams LLP allegedly asked Berico Technologies, Palantir, and HBGary Federal to draft a response plan to “the WikiLeaks Threat.” In early 2011 Anonymous publicly released HBGary-internal documents, including the plan. The plan proposed Palantir software would “serve as the foundation for all the data collection, integration, analysis, and production efforts.”[31] The plan also included slides, allegedly authored by HBGary CEO Aaron Barr, which suggested “[spreading] disinformation” and “disrupting” Glenn Greenwald’s support for WikiLeaks.[32]

Palantir CEO Karp ended all ties to HBGary and issued a statement apologizing to “progressive organizations… and Greenwald … for any involvement that we may have had in these matters." Palantir placed an employee on leave pending a review by a third-party law firm. The employee was later reinstated.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Unlocking Secrets, if Not Its Own Value". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-01-19. 
  2. ^ "A (Pretty) Complete History of Palantir". Maus Strategic Consulting. Retrieved 2014-04-27. 
  3. ^ "charlierose". Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  4. ^ "Palantir Technologies | CrunchBase Profile". Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  5. ^ a b c Gorman, Siobhan (September 4, 2009). "How Team of Geeks Cracked Spy Trade". The Wall Street Journal. 
  6. ^ a b c "A Tech Fix For Illegal Government Snooping?". NPR. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  7. ^ "Palantir « Founders Fund". Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  8. ^ Evelyn Rusli (2010-06-25). "Palantir: The Next Billion-Dollar Company Raises $90 Million". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  9. ^ a b "Alexander Karp". Charlie Rose. 2009-08-11. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  10. ^ "contact information". 
  11. ^ Jeff Widman (2009-06-05). "Palantir keeps it lean and mean on five-year journey from zero to 150 employees". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  12. ^ Ari Gesher (2010-03-08). "Palantir Technologies » Blog Archive » Friction in Human-Computer Symbiosis: Kasparov on Chess". Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  13. ^ "Press release: Thomson Reuters and Palantir Technologies enter exclusive agreement to create next-generation analytics platform for financial clients". Thomson Reuters. 2010-04-12. 
  14. ^ Tim Kauffman (2010-06-27). "The new high-tech weapons against fraud". Federal Times. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  15. ^ Kiely, Kathy (2010-06-18). "Obama administration to create 'do not pay' list to bar shady contractors". USA Today. 
  16. ^ Peter Orszag, Director (2010-06-18). "Do Not Pay? Do Read This Post". Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  17. ^ a b Eric Kuhn (June 1, 2010). "Companies capitalize on 'open government'". Political Ticker blog (CNN). Retrieved September 28, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Using Palantir with Open Source Data: Finding and Preventing Fraud in Stimulus Spending". Palantir Technologies. 2010-05-04. 
  19. ^ Ashlee Vance and Brad Stone (November 22, 2011). "Palantir, the War on Terror's Secret Weapon: A Silicon Valley startup that collates threats has quietly become indispensable to the U.S. intelligence community". Business Week Magazine. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities". The United States Securities and Exchange Commission. September 27, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 
  21. ^ Cutler, Kim-Mai. "Palantir Is Raising $197M In Growth Capital, SEC Filing Shows". TechCrunch. 
  22. ^ Andy Greenberg, Ryan Mac (September 2, 2013). "How A 'Deviant' Philosopher Built Palantir, A CIA-Funded Data-Mining Juggernaut". Forbes. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 
  23. ^ "AnalyzeThe.US — Home". Web site. Palantir. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Palantir Technologies to Showcase Analysis at the Community Health Data Initiative Forum: Harnessing the Power of Information to". FierceHealthcare. 2010-06-02. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  25. ^ "A Human Driven Data-centric Approach to Accountability: Analyzing Data to Prevent Fraud, Waste and Abuse in Stimulus Spending: Gov 2.0 Expo 2010 - Co-produced by UBM TechWeb & O'Reilly Conferences, May 25 - 27, 2010, Washington, DC". Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  26. ^ a b Chiang, Oliver (2010-04-30). "PayPal-Based Technology Helped Bust India's And The Dalai Lama's Cyberspies". Forbes. 
  27. ^ Scarborough, Rowan (July 16, 2012). "Military has to fight to purchase lauded IED buster". The Washington Times. Retrieved September 29, 2013. 
  28. ^ " Video". CNN. 
  29. ^ Markoff, John (March 29, 2009). "Vast Spy System Loots Computers in 103 Countries". The New York Times. 
  30. ^ "Society 2.0: Tenet, Chertoff and Beer, Oh My! | Washington Life Magazine". 2010-04-09. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  31. ^ a b Harris, Shane (31 January 2012). "Killer App". Washingtonian. Retrieved 14 March 2012. 
  32. ^ James Wray and Ulf Stabe. "Data intelligence firms proposed a systematic attack against WikiLeaks". Retrieved 2012-01-30. 

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