Silicon Valley startup Palantir Technologies announced Monday it had confidentially filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public, creating one of the most valued and anticipated public listings of a technology company since Uber’s initial public offering in 2019.
Last valued at $20 billion in 2015, Palantir is one of the country’s most valuable private tech companies. Reuters reported Monday that its shares have been trading in the private market at a valuation of between $10 billion and $12 billion, according to market sources.
Despite its success, little is known about the California-based company, which was founded in 2003 by investment banker Peter Thiel and current chief executive Alex Karp, among others.
Palantir has garnered a reputation for discreetly managing large amounts of secure data for both private and public sector customers.
Such customers often include parts of the U.S. government and the private defense establishment. Furthermore, In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the Central Intelligence Agency, previously awarded the firm venture capital funds.
Most recently, Palantir has worked with various countries, as well as the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Coast Guard, to coordinate coronavirus responses.
Palantir has so far resisted calls to go public due to the secretive nature of its contracts. U.S. regulation requires that publicly listed companies adhere to a certain standard of transparency — a fact that the company is perceived to have thought of as a hindrance to their business model.
Speaking in 2014, Karp commented that “the minute companies go public, they are less competitive.”
However, in recent months, the data-mining company has signaled their willingness to change. California law requires that public companies have at least one woman on their boards. Palantir appointed Alexandra Wolfe Schiff to its board in June.
Its confidential filing prevents competitors from gaining access to key information, such as the size of its offering or the nature of its listing, until the company’s official IPO announcement. In a statement, Palantir said its listing would be contingent on “market and other conditions.”
The move comes as several technology companies prepare IPOs after a slump in the market during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Companies such as Lemonade, an insurance startup, and car sales startup Vroom, have also seen their shares rise in recent weeks.