Palantir, the controversial data mining firm cofounded by billionaire Peter Thiel, now employs more people in London than at its U.S. headquarters.
Backed by the CIA’s venture capital arm, Palantir has developed data mining software that intelligence agencies and governments use for surveillance and to spot suspicious patterns in public and private databases. The company also sells its software to companies in the private sector that want to try and make sense of huge datasets.
Marissa Kimball, a Palantir exec who works in business development, told an audience at the CogX AI conference on Monday that London is Palantir’s biggest office.
“We were founded in Silicon Valley in Palo Alto, but now our London office is actually our largest office,” said Kimball during a rare public talk from a Palantir employee. “We’ve just seen massive growth in Europe in the last seven years, and it continues to be our largest source of growth.”
Following Kimball’s talk, a second Palantir employee said there are now 550 Palantir staff in London, versus 500 in Palo Alto. New York is the third-biggest office. The employee said that London has over taken Palo Alto in terms of head count in the last month, adding that there is an abundance of talent in Europe that Palantir can draw on.
Palantir’s main base in the U.K. capital is located in the trendy Soho Square, just off Oxford Street. Companies House, the U.K.’s registrar of companies, shows that Palantir has taken leases on several buildings in the square including numbers 20, 22, 25, and 27.
In 2017, Palantir had 343 staff in the U.K., according to an annual report filed with Companies House. That year, it spent £48 million on the wages and salaries, meaning the average salary was £139,941.
Palantir’s U.K. turnover in 2017 was £10.4 million, up from £4.2 million in 2016, according to the annual report.
Palantir’s press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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