Palantir could go public within a year, CEO Alex Karp told "Axios on HBO."

Why it matters: Bloomberg reported earlier this year that Palantir documents showed the company expected $1 billion in 2020 revenue.

Karp explained the sluggishness on arriving at an IPO:

  • "The real holdup at Palantir was we were building products and we needed to kind of get enough of them out so that people would see the robustness of our company, both internally and externally. It's not the case I have any news to share with you, but as opposed to every other tech company in the valley, our plans, if anything, were stronger."

Between the lines: Karp is worried some of their bigger products would have failed to launch as a public entity.

  • "The problem with being a public company is that it can be culturally corrosive on the inside."
  • "If you look at Foundry, which ... used to power the COVID crisis, or PG, which is powering most intel services in the world, these products were built over the course of years. And they were derided. Barely anyone wanted to invest in us. We almost went out of business a number of times."
  • "And we didn't have somebody in Wall Street, quite frankly, who has no earthly clue what they're talking about, telling us — 'You can't build this cause there's no product or no market for it.'"
  • "But when you're public, their view means a lot more. And it's harder to tell them, 'Hey, look, I know this looks like something no one needs, but they'll need it in 10 years.'"
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Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Aug 27, 2020 - Economy & Business

A tale of two direct listings

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

This was a big week for you, if you're a Facebook billionaire looking to take your money-losing post-Facebook company public by doing a direct listing of shares on the New York Stock Exchange.

Details: Asana was founded by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz in 2008; Palantir was founded by Facebook investor and board member Peter Thiel in 2003. Both companies released their full financials this week.

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