Skip to Content

Leaked document shows how Palantir makes its money

PayPal Inc. Co-Founder Peter Thiel InterviewPayPal Inc. Co-Founder Peter Thiel Interview
Peter Thiel co-founded Palantir Technologies in 2004.Photograph by David Paul Morris—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Palantir is a huge Silicon Valley success story, raising tons of money despite the fact that it has by and large been completely mum about what exactly it does.

TechCrunch, though, may finally have made a breakthrough — and it shows the company, co-founded by Peter Thiel, has its tentacles in more aspects of your life than you may have thought.

The technology news website reported this weekend that it has obtained a private document from 2013 detailing some of the secretive firm’s activities. The document — which potential investors are currently eyeing — unveils some of the data-mining tools Palantir has available, and even lists some of their clients.

One of those clients, unnamed by TechCrunch, used Palantir’s products to help the Securities and Exchange Commission uncover the Ponzi Scheme run by Bernie Madoff last decade. Another major law enforcement office, the Los Angles Police Department, also uses Palantir’s products. Officers use the data tools from Palantir to keep records organized.

TechCrunch also notes that the report confirms that multiple government agencies have contracts with Palantir, including multiple branches of the armed services, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the CIA.

Government is, according to TechCrunch, one of three main target industries for Palantir, with the other two being finance and legal research.