Palantir is reportedly raising $500 million at a $20 billion valuation, making it the third most valuable US startup

Screen Shot 2015 06 23 at 5.22.41 PMYouTubePalantir CEO Alex Karp

Palantir is raising $US500 million at a valuation of $US20 billion, according to a report by Buzzfeed on Tuesday.

The new funding would make the secretive data analytics company the third highest-valued startup in the US, after Uber (around $US50 billion) and Airbnb ($US24 billion). Palantir has raised $US1 billion so far, according to Crunchbase.

Founded in 2004, Palantir has the US government and Wall Street financial firms as its clients. Its cofounders include billionaire investor Peter Thiel and Joe Lonsdale, who’s now leading the venture capital firm Formation 8.

Despite its high-profile brand, Palantir has remained largely low key with regards with its business. But according to Buzzfeed, its business is growing at a strong pace, and it has more than $US1 billion in cash on its balance sheet.

Palantir’s technology makes it easy for non-engineers to sift through massive amounts of data and get meaningful results. According to a report by TechCrunch in January, users can query data with natural language and get results in real-time. For example, LAPD detectives have used it for their investigations, while financial investigators used it to track Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

Other use cases include the Pentagon tracking bomb deployment patterns, and the Marines going through fingerprint data to find DNA samples. At least 12 government agencies, including the CIA, NSA, and FBI were Palantir clients as of 2013, the report said.

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