Palantir Technologies ($PALANTIR) is a Silicon Valley unicorn at least 20-times over. With a current valuation of more than $20 billion, this Peter Thiel and Alex Karp-founded company employs more than 2,500 people and, despite having never reported a profit, is eyeing an IPO in the next few years.
But you probably know all of that. You also probably know that Palantir has become a widely covered and controversial company, as its software is being used by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain, track, and deport people over immigration violations.
At a recent Duke University tech recruiting and networking event called TechConnect, students protested the company's presence, posting "PALANTIR DEPORTS FAMILIES" over a school street entry sign. A student-run hack-a-thon called HackDuke cut itself free of a lucrative Palantir sponsorship, saying "We do not believe they align with our goals and values, especially as we are a hackathon focused on social good." The group also called for Duke University to cut its ties with the software company.
Student organizations at Harvard, Berkeley, Brown, and Yale all followed up by canceling its own relationships with Palantir.
So has all of these revelations and backs turned on Palantir hurt the company?
So far, data shows that Palantir is trudging along just fine, growing the workforce all while maintaining a healthy hiring environment.
There are more than 2,500 Palantir employees on LinkedIn as of this week. At this time last year, that number was 2,200, and a year before that, around 2,100, in a clear sign that the company's growth is accelerating.
Part of the reason for that growth is that the company is increasingly adding new jobs to its hiring websites. As of this week, the company is hiring for the most-ever positions since at least 2016. Its current 221 openings are up 23% from the 179 positions it was hiring in October 2018.
If anything, the attention given Palantir over the past couple of months has put it in the limelight. The company's Twitter following saw a surge in the past couple months, growing from 25,300 followers in August to 26,400 followers as of this week.
As for whether or not that limelight is positive or negative, time will tell, and we'll keep an eye on it.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.