The Ticker

Demystifying Palantir: The Most Controversial Company to Go Public in 2020

The software and consulting business is doubling down on its work with government agencies

Mario Gabriele
Marker
Published in
6 min readSep 29, 2020

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Palantir CEO Alex Karp attends a meeting of the White House American Technology Council on June 19, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Welcome to The Ticker, a series that examines everything you need to know about companies going public.

Seventeen years after it was founded, Palantir will make its public market debut tomorrow, via direct listing. Created in the aftermath of 9/11 with the aim of protecting the United States from future terror attacks, Palantir has become one of the nation’s most controversial companies. At the center of the firestorm is the software company’s work with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), the governmental unit tasked with tackling illegal immigration, its political stances, and its polarizing co-founder Peter Thiel. Despite Palantir’s prevalence in the public conversation — particularly under the Trump presidency — its product has remained relatively opaque until its recent filing to go public.

In advance of the listing, we unpack what you need to know about the company poised to be valued at $22 billion.

They’re both a software company and consultancy

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Mario Gabriele
Marker
Writer for

Tech from idea to IPO at readthegeneralist.com. Investing in chaotic-good founders at charge.vc