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Secretive $20 billion startup Palantir has raised another $20 million from a single backer

Alex Karp Sun ValleyGetty / Drew AngererPalantir Technologies co-founder and CEO Alex Karp.

Secretive big data firm Palantir Technologies raised another $20 million in November, according to forms filed with the SEC on Wednesday.

As noted by TechCrunch, the Form D filing lists November 8 as the date of first sale, and says that the funding came from one backer, who wasn’t identified. Other details are scarce. 

Palantir did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The $20 million figure is a curiously low amount for a company that led an $880 million round of funding last December, has raised more than $2 billion total, and is said to be valued at $20 billion as a whole. 

Formed in 2004 — with CIA money, in part —  Palantir is simultaneously one of the biggest and most buttoned-up companies in Silicon Valley. It sells data-sifting and management tools to US government defence and intelligence agencies, as well as finance and healthcare corporations, but has notoriously shielded its activities from the public.

The past year has been a rocky one for the company, too, with lawsuits against investors, accusations of racial discrimination in hiring, and a reported loss of employees and big-name clients. And while the company is said to be hauling in large amounts of revenue, recent reports have said it isn’t yet profitable. 

Peter ThielNeilson Barnard/Getty Images for New York TimesPalantir co-founder Peter Thiel.

All that said, the company may have rosier days ahead thanks to the forthcoming Trump administration. Peter Thiel, one of Palantir’s co-founders, was the most prominent Trump supporter in Silicon Valley during the campaign, and is now advising Trump as part of his transition team.

The appointment of Gen. Michael Flynn as Trump’s national security adviser could be a boon as well. A recent BuzzFeed report claimed that Flynn has quietly advocated for Palantir’s technology.

And in October, the company won a lawsuit against the US Army that put it back in the running to win a data systems contract worth more than $200 million.

The $20 million raised here isn’t anywhere close to being that valuable, but it does suggest that some are still high on the secretive startup.

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