Joe Lonsdale: Why we built Palantir and what’s next after going public

  • The software and data-analytics company Palantir Technologies went public on September 30 with a direct listing, instead of a traditional IPO, and is estimated to win a market valuation of $22 billion.
  • In this op-ed, Joe Lonsdale — one of the company’s cofounders alongside Peter Thiel and others — writes that Palantir’s reputation as an evil surveillance system is ironic because the company is the most sophisticated privacy engine and has kept the US safe.
  • Lonsdale says Palantir’s starting mission was to create a secure intelligence network to help prevent the next 9/11. Now its platform is being used in COVID-19 response efforts by key decision-makers in over 35 countries.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author. You can read more on Business Insider’s coverage of Palantir and its cofounders here.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In 2010, I gave a speech

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Palantir Cofounder Joe Lonsdale Defends The Newly Public Data Mining Company Amid Ongoing Criticism

Palantir Technologies, the once-secretive data mining company, went public through a direct listing on Wednesday, hitting a market capitalization just north of $20 billion on its first day of trading Wednesday. The journey to IPO has been bumpy and at times controversial. Joe Lonsdale, cofounder of Palantir who left the company in 2009 but remains a significant shareholder through his investment firm, 8VC, tells Forbes why the company is necessary, and how he built it in the early days with billionaire investor and Palantir chairman Peter Thiel, CEO Alexander Karp, president Stephen Cohen and others in 2003.

“From the beginning, it was an unusual company, and we had big ambitions to build something that was very important for Western civilization,” says Lonsdale of the company’s grand initial vision. A computer science major who graduated from Stanford University in 2003, Lonsdale edited the conservative

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