Silicon Valley's most secretive startup lets employees sell $425,000 worth of stock per year

Peter ThielTristan Fewings/Getty ImagesPeter Thiel, Founders Fund in conversation with Caroline Daniel from the Financial Times on the Web Summit Centre Stage at the 2014 Web Summit on November 6, 2014 in Dublin, Ireland.

Palantir is one of the biggest privately held tech companies in the world, recently valued at $20 billion. The company sells data analysis software to government agencies like the FBI and CIA, as well as to private companies.

As is the case with a lot of other billion-dollar startups, this has created some tension between executives who want to keep the company private to avoid burdensome regulations and the distraction of being public, and investors and employees who want to capitalise on the company’s fast growth so far, reports Rolfe Winkler in the Wall Street Journal.

But Palantir has taken one important step to keep employees happy: It lets them sell up to 10% of their stock, up to a maximum of $425,000, each year. Employees have used this money to buy things like houses, according to the report.

It’s also relatively lenient toward investors who want to sell shares on the private market, and even has a company exec serve as a broker.

This stands in stark contrast to Uber, the largest privately held tech startup, which exercises tight control over its stock and has discouraged trades by forcing the price down to earlier (and lower) valuations.

In Palantir’s case, investment companies created by cofounder Peter Thiel are reportedly trying to sell more than $100 million in shares, although Thiel himself has advised the company to stay private as long as possible.

Read the full report here>>

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