Visiting Dignitaries

Gandalf Himself Handed the CEO of Palantir an Award on Monday

That underwear says "You Shall Not Pass." (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)

Here’s a scene that, sadly, probably won’t make the ultra-special limited-edition Lord of the Rings Blu-Ray collection: Page Six reports that last night Gandalf himself, a.k.a. noted Shakespearean actor Sir Ian McKellen, “stripped down onstage Monday night at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre for the annual Only Make Believe charity gala,” to reveal a pair of Tolkien-themed underwear.

It gets even better, though. Wait for the techie punchline to the shenanigans: Read More

Fresh Capital

Tolkien-Loving, Data-Mining Palantir Just Raised Another $196M in Venture Capital

"How creepy could we be? We're like grammar schoolers!" (Photo by C Flanigan/Getty Images)

If you see a hobbit making it rain on Palo Alto’s University Avenue this afternoon, here’s why: VentureBeat reports that Palantir–Peter Thiel’s shadowy data-mining startup–has raised another $196 million, bringing its total raised to a whopping $498 million.

With cash like that, you could have custom costumes made for every Shire-loving employee. Or you could just buy the leftovers from Sean Parker’s wedding.  Read More

Alley vs. Valley

Engineer Chooses Alley Over Valley Because NYC Has More Ladies

Mr. Miller, pimp.

The “I’m moving to New York” letter has become quite a genre as of late, and recent UT-Austin graduate Mike Miller decided to hop on the bandwagon with a post outlining the reasons he’s packing up for the Alley instead of the Valley post-college. Sure, there’s more diversity and less of a commute, but you know what Mr. Miller is really looking forward to in New York? Meeting all you single ladies! Read More

Talent Crunch

Billions Dollar Analytics Firm, Palantir, Staffing Up in New York

Palantir's Meat Packing Digs

Although it doesn’t have much mainstream name recognition, Palantir Technologies has seen some explosive growth in the last year. And with new offices in the Meat Packing district, Palantir is competing hard for New York tech talent.

The firm, which began analyzing complex data sets for intelligence agencies, has since brought its tools to bear on a wide range of government and financial services.

Founded by Alex Karp and Peter Thiel, a Paypal co-founder and early Facebook investor, the company just closed on a $50 million round of funding that would value Palantir between $2.5 and $3 billion.

The company won’t reveal whether or not its profitable, saying simply that revenues have grown, but its benefit package is pretty swank for a pre-IPO firm: catered breakfast and chef prepared lunch, nap rooms and rec areas with HD projection screens, laundry service and a housing subsidy. Wonder if East Coast perks are equal to Palo Alto.  Read More