Peter Thiel’s Palantir Shows Steep Losses, and Some Hope, Ahead of Listing

The Four Percent


Palantir Technologies Inc., the data analytics company co-founded by investor Peter Thiel, privately disclosed the extent of its steep and stubborn losses ahead of a long-delayed public listing planned for as soon as next month.

Palantir told investors it burned through $165 million last year, a negative cash-flow figure that was more than three-times the comparable figure of a year earlier, people briefed on the matter said. The losses came amid $742 million in overall revenue for the 16-year old company.

Palantir until recently only infrequently provided investors with figures under traditionally accepted accounting principles, and under those metrics the loss was more extreme. Palantir lost $579 million when costs like sales, marketing and research were counted, one of the people briefed said. Nearly half of that was stock-based compensation, illustrating the cost of retaining employees agitating for a chance to sell their shares in the public market.

TechCrunch earlier reported the $579 million loss for last year. Palantir said last month it had confidentially filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public. People familiar with the matter say the company plans a so-called direct listing of its shares as soon as next month.

While it’s neither uncommon nor disqualifying for a Silicon Valley company to report losses ahead of a public listing, Palantir is a particularly unusual case. Co-founded in 2004 by Mr. Thiel and others, Palantir gained public fame for its work with the U.S. military in helping track down Osama bin Laden. More recently, it rapidly expanded work with governments world-wide to track the coronavirus pandemic.


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