Polaris in the News
|March 15, 2016

Fortune | How Palantir Uses Big Data to Find Missing Kids

Excerpt from

Palantir Technologies, the data analytics companyprofiled in the current issue of Fortune, isn’t unique in its efforts to turn its software toward social good—plenty of tech companies do that. But unlike most, Palantir says it treats nonprofits like any other customer, not just as a “corporate social responsibility” afterthought.

...Back in 2012, Polaris’ chief executive, Bradley Myles, heard Palantir’s CEO, Alex Karp, speak at a White House event hosted by the Office of Science and Technology Policy. After listening to Karp wax poetic about Palantir’s data analytics capabilities, Myles knew it was something his non-profit—which is dedicated to eradicating modern-day slavery—needed but couldn’t afford. “We were collecting great data but couldn’t visualize it,” says Myles. He sparked a conversation with Karp, and a pro-bono relationship quickly formed. Just a few weeks later, Palantir engineers were integrating data from thousands of victim records, public tips and financial networks in an effort to help track human trafficking rings. (Worldwide, the illegal industry brings in an estimated $32 billion in profits annually from the enslavement of more than 20 million people.) “The way they [trafficking rings] are organized is similar to terror cells,” says Myles. That made it a familiar challenge to Palantir, which is still working with Polaris on multiple projects.