Palantir Technologies, the secretive startup recently valued at $US9 billion, has just acquired Propeller, a 1-year-old company that simplifies mobile app creation. This is Palantir’s second startup acquisition in the past three days.
Propeller didn’t say much about today’s acquisition on its website, but it mentioned its plans to go after a bigger market following today’s deal. “Having tackled many technical challenges facing mobile app creation, we’re eager to solve important problems at Palantir on a global scale,” it said.
Propeller is backed by some of the most prominent investors in Silicon Valley, including Andreessen Horowitz, ffAngel, and Menlo Ventures. It’s worth noting that ffAngel is the seed investing unit of Founders Fund, the VC firm founded by Peter Thiel, who’s also the co-founder of Palantir.
Today’s deal is interesting for a couple reasons. First, it shows Palantir may be changing its stance toward more startup acquisitions. Since its founding in 2004, Palantir had made just one acquisition prior to this week. But on Tuesday, they made a surprise announcement to acquire Poptip, a social media data analysis firm with only nine employees.
Palantir didn’t say much about Tuesday’s deal, either, but Poptip wrote on its website, “We will continue to build innovative products for data analysis in the commercial sector that will be transformational for industries.”
The other reason this is interesting is because this could mean Palantir is gearing up for an IPO. So far, Palantir has been very focused on government and financial clients, such as the FBI, the CIA, and many Wall Street firms. But it may be feeling the need to expand its customer base in order to impress Wall Street, and the two companies it acquired this week are indeed much more consumer facing.
“Palantir needs to enter new markets leading up to its IPO, as the slow sales cycle of its current markets — government, military and finance — isn’t appealing to Wall Street,” Fortune Magazine’s Erin Griffith noted.
Palantir’s latest round of funding was worth $US107.5 million, which valued the company at $US9 billion. There has been speculation of it going public for some time, although its CEO Alex Karp told CNBC in March that the company has “no plans to go public anytime soon.”
We have reached out to Palantir for comment.
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