Shadowy data-mining startup Palantir closed over $196 million in funding, according to an SEC filing.
The startup is notoriously press-shy, as it mines highly sensitive data for pharmaceutical companies and government agencies. The San Jose Mercury News reported that the company would raise a huge chunk of funding, but it was not clear on the specifics.
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based Palantir boasts an unrivaled engineering and data science team. It handles messy swamps of data and turns it into data visualizations and maps. The company has built up a reputation in Silicon Valley for recruiting some of the most talented engineers from nearby Stanford University.
The rumored value of Palantir is at over $8 billion, and its chief executive, Alex Karp, told Forbes that it’s likely to close $1 billion in contracts next year.
Its seed investor is Peter Thiel, who is an early investor in Facebook and a cofounder of PayPal. The company was founded by Karp, Joe Lonsdale (also cofounder of fin-tech startup Addepar), Stephen Cohen, and Nathan Gettings.
It also counts the CIA’s venture arm, In-Q-Tel, among its early investors.
Palantir was recently named by the Telegraph as the “creepiest startup ever,” as it counts the U.S. Army and an array of intelligence agencies among its customers. It doesn’t hurt that the company was rumored to play a hand in the black ops initiative to kill Osama Bin Laden.
Palantir is one of Silicon Valley’s most well-funded startups. The company has raised over $500 million to date from venture firms like Founders Fund as well as private individuals like Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman and former Square COO Keith Rabois.