Palantir Faces Challenges on Revenue Growth

Palantir, the much-hyped data analytics company co-founded by investor Peter Thiel, has raised more than $800 million and was valued at about $9 billion in a recent funding round, making it one of the highest-priced venture-backed companies in the world. But those big numbers, while lending prestige, can also be a burden: Palantir needs to show dramatic revenue growth for many years to justify such a huge valuation, and the very nature of its business could make such growth hard to achieve.

The decade-old data analytics company vows to “solve the world’s hardest problems” by turning a sea of random, seemingly meaningless information into useful intelligence. It has a highly sophisticated software platform that lets client search, share and interpret complex layers of information from many different sources. (One person described it on Quora as the “corpus collosum of software.”) Clients include organizations that cross-reference many streams of data in order to detect threats and fraud, including intelligence and law enforcement agencies like the Federal Bureau of Intelligence, local governments such as New York City and banks including JPMorgan Chase.

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Investors in the company and employees aren’t worried about the trend line because they believe that with time the company will dominate the growing field of data analytics—and that off-the-shelf solutions will ultimately enable it to earn plenty of profits. Palantir has stockpiled more than half a billion dollars in cash and debt and thus removed any immediate pressure to go public. That might give the company that specializes in the world’s toughest problems enough time to figure out its own long-term growth strategy.


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Palantir talks about itself as a software product company whose platform is 90% ready to go and 10% customized for each deployment. But clients who spoke to The Information say that it also has shades of a consulting-heavy company like IBM or a contractor like Booz Allen.