Can Faculty be the UK version of Palantir ?
Are Faculty the UK Version of Palantir ?
Palantir are one of if not the most high profile start up/scale up success stories in Data over the last decade or so. Founded by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel in 2004.
Initially the company used a fraud risk engine, very similar to PayPal technology to investigate cyber crime, & prevent Terrorism acts for US Govt & agencies. Despite being critical for the CIA in preventing a number of Terrorist incidents the Company struggled in the early years & found it hard to gain investment, only managing to raise c.$2 million from the CIA itself.
From around 2010 though things started to look up for the company with the introduction of Palantir Metropolis, a software product for Data Integration, Information Management & Quantitative Analytics.
Vice President Joe Biden credited the Software at the time for helping he US Govt protect against major fraud and announced it would be rolled out across a whole range of Government departments.
At this point Palantir had gone from a scrappy business trying to stay afloat to doing c. $250 million in revenue.
Over the next 4-5 years the company continued to grow at a pace as their presence within Public Sector departments grew as did their presence in the commercial world as they introduced a variety of different software products: Foundry & Gotham.
Ultimately Palantir’s success outside of the Public Sector where it originally made its name was a key factor that allowed the company to IPO in 2020 at a $16.5 billion valuation, and despite some heavy stock price fluctuations it remains a favourite long term stock buy for many in Technology.
What similarities does Faculty have to Palantir?
Well they both came from fairly humble beginnings. Faculty started as ASI Data Science, offering Data Science training services, before developing cutting edge ML & AI software products that allowed them to scale.
Like Palantir Faculty have high profile Tech investors in VC’s Local Globe & Jaan Tallin a founder at Skype.
Also like Palantir, Faculty has a business model that defies convention, in that both companies implement cutting edge software that integrates with their clients systems, whilst also deploying top 1% consulting & technical talent to work with those clients. Faculty typically hire Computer Science, AI & Machine Learning PhD’s from global top 10 schools as well as highly capable consultants & clients managers.
Faculty have also found great success in recent years outside of the Public Sector in which it initially made it’s name with contracts for the NHS & Govt Departments. It is this private sector success, coupled with its repeatable software model which gives many in the investment community confidence that Faculty can be a highly scalable company globally over the next 5 years.
The major point of difference with Palantir when you really study the companies is that where Palantir’s capabilities really add value is by making crucial Data Available to their clients. At heart they are a Data Engineering company.
At it’s core, Faculty is the other end of the spectrum, their value lies in their ability to make deployable AI a reality for enterprises through a combination of its software & it’s people.
In that sense Faculty stands alone at present in terms of its proposition.
What does the future hold for Faculty?
Crucially even at this stage they are a profit making company, who with recent growth funding will see huge growth in revenues & personnel over the next 3 years.
Faculty & Palantir differ on what end of the data value chain they play but show huge similarities in the business model of offering best in class technology & best in class minds to their clients.
Who would bet against a Faculty IPO at some point this decade?