Palantir, the data-mining company that has US intelligence and military agencies as clients, reported a fourth-quarter loss though its revenues beat Wall Street expectations.
Palantir’s revenues rose 40 percent to $322m in the fourth quarter, beating Wall Street expectations for $300m, according to a Refinitiv survey. It suffered a net loss of $148.3m, or 8 cents a share, compared with a loss of $159.3m, or 29 cents, in the same quarter last year. It hopes for revenue growth of more than 30 percent for 2021, according to it forecast. This is a more realistic view considering the post-pandemic effect. In 2020, it saw a 47 percent increase in 2020. The current quarter reported a respectable 45 percent.
Palantir’s shares have tripled in value since it made its market debut in a direct listing last September. They fell 6.5 percent in pre-market trading after the results.
The company said government customers contributed $190m in sales, up 85 percent from a year ago, while its commercial segment accounted for $132m in sales, up 4 percent year on year. Its full-year revenues were $1.1bn, of which $610m or about 56 percent of total revenue came from government customers. This quarter Plantir signed 21 contracts worth $5m. The clients include Rio Tinto, PG&E, the US army, the Food and Drug Administration and the NHS in the UK. At least 12 of these contracts were worth not less than $10m, according to Palantir. The company said its average revenue per customer was $7.9m last year, up 41 percent from 2019.
Its revenue grew only 25% in 2019 over 2018. The secretive software company was co-founded by Facebook Inc. and Donald Trump supporter Peter Thiel. Palantir is infamous for selling big-data software to military agencies that helped to surveil citizens and conduct warfare. Palantir got involved early on in government counterintelligence work with seed money from In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the Central Intelligence Agency.
It has developed two platforms—Gotham and Foundry, both of which are extensively used for counterintelligence, data mining for surveillance purposes and deep data algorithms.
In its IPO filing, Palantir said that it had 125 customers in 150 countries, including Airbus, Merck, Credit Suisse and the Danish National Police. Palantir is reported to have raised at least $2.5 billion in funding to date and was once one of the world’s most valuable startup.
In its IPO filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in September, Chief Executive Alexander Karp wrote a letter where he criticized the tech sector, denouncing its blind following of profits.
The company has shifted its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Denver in Colorado. In the letter, the company said that “we seem to share fewer and fewer of the technology sector’s values and commitments.”
The letter called out Facebook and Alphabet Inc.’s advertisement-driven data practices while defending Palantir’s use of data for surveillance and other purposes.