Palantir acquires data publishing platform Silk

Steven Loeb · August 10, 2016 · Short URL:

Silk will continue to operate in its current state, but the team will be coming to work at Palantir

Palantir, the Peter Thiel-backed company which offers a suite of software applications for integrating and analyzing data, seems to be looking to make its data more visual, and better looking. 

The company has acquired data publishing platform Silk, it was revealed in a blog post from CEO Salar al Khafaji on Wednesday.

No financial terms of the deal were disclosed, but Khafaji did reveal that the Silk team would be coming to work at Palantir in an unspecified capacity. This looks like an acqui-hire, as it doesn't seem as though Palantir has much interest in Silk's technology. The Silk platform will continue to operate in its current capacity, but it will no longer be updated.

"Nothing will change to current Silks, and you can still create a new Silk for free. However, because of our new roles at Palantir, will operate “as is” and we will not be able to provide technical or customer support to new or existing Silk accounts any longer, nor will we be doing any further development work or adding new features to the hosted product," he said.

Founded in 2009, Silk is a cloud-based application that enables users to visualize their data online by the way of interactive Web pages.

"Silks contain data on a specific topic. Anyone can browse a Silk to explore data and create beautiful interactive charts, maps and web pages," the company explains on its webite. Data can be inputted manually or via a spreadsheet upload, and can be enhanced with visualization tools.

Users can invite anyone to edit and publish data to a Silk, which can then be shared publicly, or to a select group. Silk visualizations can be embedded in platforms like Tumblr and WordPress.

Here's a quick explanation of how it works:

Palantir has been called "the most secretive company" in Silicon Valley. Backed by In-Q-Tel, a VC firm for intelligence firms, including the CIA, and Peter Thiel's Founder's Fund, it offers two products, whose names come from the hometowns of two superheroes: Palantir Gotham and Palantir Metropolis. 

Palantir Gotham, which integrates, manages, secures and analyzes enterprise data is used by counter-terrorism analysts, while Palantir Metropolis, which can analyze any kind of quantitative data, is typically used by hedge funds, banks, and financial services firms.

Khafaji didn't say what his team would be working on at Palantir, but he makes it sound like it will be something similar to what the team was already doing.

"When we met the Palantir team, we realized that we could work on even bigger and more important data problems with an incredibly talented team – even if it meant no longer working on the Silk product," he said. "We decided to join Palantir because we believe we can achieve a larger impact there than we could at Silk alone."

Silk, which is based in Amsterdam and San Francisco, had raised $3.66 million in venture funding from Atomico Ventures and New Enterprise Associates.

VatorNews has reached out to Palantir and Silk for more information about the acquisition. We will update this story if we learn more.

Support VatorNews by Donating

Read more from our "Trends and news" series

More episodes