Palantir COO says partnerships with hardware manufacturers key to growth of US gov business

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Partnerships with major hardware manufacturers will be key to the future growth of Palantir’s book of U.S. government business, according to the company’s chief operating officer.

In an exclusive interview with FedScoop, Shyam Sankar said the artificial intelligence and software company is focused on cultivating deep partnerships that allow its software to directly shape the design of end hardware products sold to government customers. 

“I think there’s a lot of value for the government customer when people who are really good at software partner with people who are really good at hardware and create an integrated offering that is going to deliver the next generation of what these customers need,” Sankar said.

He said that’s historically difficult because “most software companies just want to sell software, generic software that they sell broadly to large swaths of the market without the key consideration for the specific needs and requirements of government customers.” 

“That’s what makes you a [prime] contractor. Understanding that the product is the program, and the software investment that we have … the [products] are more like a grab bag from a leg box that we can use to assemble the right product for the customer — to custom build their product today and in the future.”

Palantir has so far partnered with other major U.S. federal contractors on products including the Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Note (TITAN) for the Army, where it worked alongside L3 Harris and Sierra Nevada Corp. 

Following $72 million in awards from the Army in June, Palantir and Raytheon Technologies will both compete for the role of prime that contract.

Last August the company announced the completion of a joint pilot project with BlackSky Holdings that integrated that company’s commercial satellite imagery and analytics into Palantir Foundry. BlackSky is a publicly listed geospatial intelligence company that operates 14 high-resolution intelligence-gathering satellites.

Sankar’s comments come after Palantir on Monday reported a 1 cent per share loss for its second-quarter earnings, which the company’s CFO attributed to a decline in investments and marketable securities.

Palantir reported year-on-year total commercial revenue growth of 46%, compared with total government revenue growth of 13% for the period. 

Sankar told Fedscoop that the 10-year U.S. government contracting cycle helped to explain the delta between the two growth figures.

“The nature of these big government contracts is that they are lumpy,” he said.

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Palantir, Shyam Sankar, Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node (TITAN)
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