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The company announced it has given the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission its confidential initial registration. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Palantir has yet to announce whether it will conduct an initial public offering, which involves issuing new shares, or a direct listing, which favours existing investors who want to sell some of their holdings. Many have been waiting a long time. Palantir is now 16 years old, making it one of the longest-running private companies with a multi-billion-dollar valuation in Silicon Valley, and CEO Alex Karp has been hinting at a public listing since at least 2016. The company is currently mid-raise on a private US$961-million equity sale, which could limit its short-term need for new funding—especially if it breaks even this year, as it has reportedly told investors it expects to.

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The data-mining firm has already secured about US$550 million of the funding from 58 investors, according to a Wednesday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. RBC Capital Markets, Disruptive Securities and Old City Securities are handling the equity sale. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Palantir reportedly plans to become a public company as early as September, following years of IPO rumours. In June, Japanese insurance firm Sompo said it was investing US$500 million in the Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm, which may be part of the committed funds it reported in Tuesday’s filing. Palantir reportedly expects to break even in 2020, for the first time ever; other money-losing unicorns like Uber raised new financing rounds shortly before hitting the public markets.

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The data mining firm could start trading as early as September, but has not yet decided whether to do so via an IPO or a direct listing. (Reuters)

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Talking point: Palantir CEO Alexander Karp has been talking about going public since at least mid-2016, and the company has reportedly been on the cusp of profitability for at least as long. When it does eventually file, its prospectus could provide more visibility into its government business; the company has reportedly told investors it’s been winning a lot of public-sector contracts of late. It’s also expanding internationally, working on COVID-19 responses in 18 countries and offering its services largely pro-bono to generate business. Last year, it hired former Canadian ambassador to the U.S. David MacNaughton to run its local operation. But Palantir’s sole disclosed contract with Ottawa—a million-dollar deal for software to be used by the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command—expired in March, defense department spokesperson Sue Beler told The Logic.

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency asked public health officials to provide deidentified daily updates on ventilator availability and “testing, capacity, supplies, utilization, and patient flows.” Palantir’s software is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) new data management system launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (The Daily Beast)

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Talking point: Though stripped of identifying information, the data sets are potentially lucrative to Palantir, experts say. The company said it will not use the information for commercial purposes. Palantir is also working on responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in other countries including the U.K., Greece and Germany. While the HHS contract is worth US$24.8 million, the company is providing its services to other governments for free. It has previously used such pro bono work to win paid contracts.

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The data-mining company had US$739 million in 2019 revenue and is expecting to increase that by 38 per cent this year, according to internal financial documents, which suggest the firm is looking to go public. (Bloomberg)

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Talking point: Palantir has resisted the public markets throughout its 16-year history. Doing so has allowed it to pursue profitability at its own pace while skipping certain disclosures that could be complicated for the controversial firm, which has a number of government clients for which it does clandestine work. The company has also expanded its Canadian presence. In July 2019, The Logic reported the defence department had signed a million-dollar deal with Palantir, in the first time the Canadian government disclosed it was working with the firm. Shortly thereafter, the firm appointed Canada’s former ambassador to the U.S., David MacNaughton, as its president for Canada.

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The race to develop AI-driven technology allowing unmanned drones to independently identify and take out targets is akin to the development of the nuclear bomb, according to Shyam Sankar. Yet it’s a race that Apple reportedly wants no part of. When the iPhone maker recently acquired Xnor.ai, it put an end to the AI startup’s involvement in Maven. (Business Insider, The Information)

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Talking point: While Apple demurred, Palantir’s foray into what critics call “the business of war” has been energetic. The company began work with the U.S. Defense Department’s Project Maven in 2018 after Google dropped out following the protest of thousands of its employees. As of July 2019, Palantir had at least 29 active contracts with the U.S. federal government, including with ICE and the FBI, worth a total of US$1.5 billion, according to a recent study by the activist group Mijente. And business is good: Sankar said Palantir, founded in 2003 by a group including tech billionaire Peter Thiel, was profitable in 2019, thanks in large part to these contracts. It stands to earn further business from the Canadian government.