Secrets of Mysterious Silicon Valley Company Revealed

BuzzFeed takes a deep dive into Palantir Technologies
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2016 1:17 PM CST
Secrets of Mysterious Silicon Valley Company Revealed
Palantir Technologies, founded by Peter Thiel in 2004, is one of the highest-valued startups ever. So why are its clients and employees fleeing?   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

BuzzFeed is offering a first-ever look inside what it calls "one of Silicon Valley's most secretive and highly valued companies," courtesy of hundreds of internal documents company insiders. Palantir Technologies was founded by Peter Thiel in 2004, partly using CIA money. The software-making, Lord of the Rings-obsessed company promises it can use data analysis to help business make money and improve espionage. It was valued at $20 billion in 2015—Airbnb and Uber are the only tech startups that have been valued higher.

But a closer look at Palantir reveals a less rosy picture. More than 100 employees left the company in the first quarter of 2016. They were joined over the past 13 months by high-profile clients Coca-Cola, Nasdaq, and American Express. Companies aren't convinced they're seeing any value from Palantir, which can charge more than $1 million a month for its services, especially when its engineers (who complain of "low-vision" clients) can be so difficult to work with. In 2015, an unprofitable Palantir brought in less than a quarter of its publicly announced "bookings," leaving employees (who are forbidden from speaking to the media) to wonder if the stock they're heavily compensated with will ever be worth something. Read the full story here. (Read more Palantir stories.)

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