How much does it cost to buy out one of big brother's favored toolmakers? Around $9bn, according to a recent valuation of Silicon Valley darling Palantir.
The "Big Data" analysis company made a Form D filing with the SEC on Thursday disclosing a $58m cash infusion, and other reports by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the Financial Times reckoned the company would soon announce a further $42m in filthy valley lucre, valuing the company at $9bn.
Palantir makes technology for analysing large amounts of data from disparate sources, and lists its main clients as government, financial institutions, and pharma companies. Its tech can be used for tasks ranging from detecting insider trading, to tracking people, to identifying weaknesses in IT infrastructure. Its two main technologies are called "Gotham" and "Metropolis".
Gotham is a multi-user query engine that interfaces with structured and unstructured data, providing a platform for analysts to use to pull together, query, analyze, and share insights derived from "billion- and trillion-scale datasets".
Metropolis is a "quantitative analysis platform" that comes with its own "Hedgehog" query language, along with various tools for exploring and converging datasets. One sub-component of Metropolis is named PRISM, but is not – the company says – connected to the alleged NSA data-slurping programme of the same name.
The company has recently tried to put distance between itself and the intelligence community due to the wave of bad press unleashed by Edward Snowden's revelations about the NSA. However, it is indisputably linked to a variety of shadowy organizations, and is backed partly by In-Q-Tel, the CIA's investment wing.
Details of the investors were not disclosed. The company is not yet thought to be profitable, but does turn over several hundred million dollars per year.
The company is notorious for having a demanding work enviroment that, like so many Silicon Valley companies, borders on the frenzied mania of a cult. "It's been said that 'there are no leashes at Palantir,' and it's true," the company insists. ®