Secretive surveillance startup Palantir said late Monday it has confidentially filed paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to go public.
Its statement for the secretive, government-friendly big data operation, co-founded by Peter Thiel, said little more. “The public listing is expected to take place after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions.”
Palantir did not say when it plans to go public nor did it provide other information such as how many shares it would potentially sell or the share price range for the IPO. Confidential IPO filings allow companies to bypass the traditional IPO filing mechanisms that give insights into their inner workings such as financial figures and potential risks. Instead, Palantir can explore the early stages of setting itself up for a public listing without the public scrutiny that comes with the process. The strategy has been used by companies such as Spotify, Slack and Uber. However, a confidential filing doesn’t always translate to an IPO.
A Palantir spokesperson, when reached, declined to comment further.
Palantir is one of the more secretive firms in Silicon Valley, a provider of big data and analytics technologies, including to the U.S. government and intelligence community. Much of that work has drawn controversies from privacy and civil liberties activists. For example, investigations show that the company’s data mining software was used to create profiles of immigrants and consequently aid deportation efforts by the ICE.
As the coronavirus pandemic spread throughout the world, Palantir pitched its technology to bring big data to tracking efforts.
Last week, Palantir filed its first Form D in four years indicating that it is raising $961 million. According to the filing, $550 million has already been raised and capital commitments for the remaining allotment have been secured.
With today’s news, the cash raise looks complementary to the company’s ambitions to go public. One report estimates that the company’s valuation hovers at $26 billion.
Palantir’s filing is another example of how the IPO market is heating up yet again, despite the freeze COVID-19 put on so many companies. Last week, insurance provider Lemonade debuted on the public market to warm waters. Accolade, a healthcare benefits company, similarly is sold more shares than expected.