Aug 25, 2020 - Technology

Palantir files to go public

Illustration of suited hand holding the Wall Street bull

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Palantir, the secretive data analysis software company known for working with governments, has filed to go public via a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

The big picture: Palantir long eschewed going public until changing its tune recently. The company is also confirming recent rumors that it's choosing a rare alternative to the traditional IPO. Direct listings skip the underwriting process of an IPO, typically letting investors cash out shares without raising fresh capital for the company.

By the numbers:

  • In the first half of 2020, Palantir saw $164.7 million in losses on $481.2 million in revenue.
  • In full year 2019, the company had $579.6 million in losses on $742.6 million in revenue. That top-line total was up 25% from Palantir's 2018 revenue.
  • In 2019, the company's average revenue per customer was $5.6 million. The average revenue for its top 20 customers for 2019 was $24.8 million.
  • In the first half of 2020, its tools were used by 125 customers, and about 54% of the revenue they generated came from government customers.
  • Palantir's largest shareholders are Peter Thiel, co-founder and CEO Alex Karp, co-founder Stephen Cohen, SOMPO Holdings, and Founders Fund.
  • According to its most recent secondary trades, Palantir's stock traded at a volume-weighted average price of $5.42 per share in 2019, and $5.35 per share in 2020 (through Aug. 21).

Also: In addition to its existing two classes of stock (with one giving holders 10 votes per share), the company plans to introduce a third class, "F," to its three founders to enable them to effectively remain in control of the company with just under 50% of the voting.

  • This is not novel among Silicon Valley tech companies, but Palantir is doing it via an unusual structure with a share class with a variable number of votes.

Editor's note: The story has been updated with more details about the listing.

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