Top business news: Palantir, biotech startups, drama at PwC

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Top business news: Palantir, biotech startups, drama at PwC

Hello everyone! Welcome to this weekly roundup of Business Insider stories from executive editor Matt Turner. Please subscribe to Business Insider here to get this newsletter in your inbox every Sunday. 

palantir technologies ipo reputation 2x1

Palatir; Samantha Lee/Business Insider


Palantir Technologies is one of the oldest unicorn startups in Silicon Valley. It’s now preparing to step out of the shadows and enter the public markets, as Becky Peterson reported this week.

She writes:

It’s known around the world as a magical enabler of government surveillance thanks to its close relationships with contentious agencies like US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, various police forces, and the military. Its founder Peter Thiel’s close relationship with President Trump has only intensified fears around its technology.

But this reputation doesn’t tell the full story. Behind the scenes, much of Palantir’s work is par for the course in enterprise software, and the company has struggled to build a business model that matches its outsized reputation.

You can read her story in full here:

Secretive Palantir Technologies is preparing to go public. But behind the cloak-and-dagger image, insiders and investors say, it’s struggled to build a steady revenue model.


Hot biotech startups

25 biotech startups VCs 2x1

5AM Ventures; Canaan; Sofinnova Partners; Third Rock Ventures; Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

It’s a critical time to be in the biotech business, as companies race to find new ways to treat and prevent the novel coronavirus. With all eyes on the industry, Andrew Dunn and Lydia Ramsey Pflanzer asked 12 top biotech venture capital investors which startups they think are poised to take off in the next year. 

They asked the investors to name startups from their firms’ portfolios, and ones they haven’t invested in. For some, that meant looking outside of drug development entirely to diagnostic companies testing for conditions including COVID-19, like Sherlock Biosciences. Others opted to pick companies finding new ways to tackle untreatable conditions, like Dewpoint Therapeutics. 

You can read the list in full here:

Meet the 21 biotech startups that top VCs say are poised to take off in the next 12 months


A rare look at pay and wrangling over clients at a Big 4 firm

PwC office

Jack Taylor/Getty Images

PwC has been hit with a $15 million lawsuit that provides a rare look behind the curtain on partner compensation and disputes over credit, writes Jack Newsham. 

He writes:

John Cahill, a former tax partner based out of the Big Four firm’s Minneapolis office, said he was recruited from a senior role at an asset management firm and soon brought in a client worth $10 million in annual business to PwC, smashing the performance goals that had been set for him. But Cahill claims he was forced to share credit for the job with other partners and ultimately was pushed off the engagement.

He claims in his lawsuit that he’d originally been told that he was the most successful “catalyst partner” PwC had ever hired, but was ultimately forced to leave the firm this summer. PwC has denied the claims and has asked a New York court to make Cahill arbitrate them privately.

You can read the story in full here:

A former PwC partner just sued the firm for $15 million in compensation, offering a rare look at pay and wrangling over clients at a Big 4 firm


Before I go, a couple of quick programming notes. First, we’ve launched a Gender at Work newsletter. Here’s Shana Lebowitz Gaynor, one of the writers behind the newsletter:

Twice a month, we take an expansive look at how your gender identity informs your career. Recent editions have covered the future of working parenthood and the path to pay equity. (Spoiler alert: This week we’ll talk about Kamala Harris’ spot on the Democratic ticket.) 

You can sign up to get the newsletter delivered to your inbox right here. 

Second, I want to highlight the work of our parenting editor Eleanor Goldberg. Like many of you, I’m a working parent currently struggling to juggle the two. I’ve found Eleanor’s stories enormously helpful, so I hope you do too.

As always, please get in touch with any feedback, on the Gender at Work newsletter, our parenting coverage, or anything else. I’d love to hear from you. Just reach out at

Below are headlines on some of the stories you might have missed from the past week.

— Matt

JPMorgan says buy these 19 ‘diamond in the rough’ stocks that have plunged from yearly highs, but are spring-loaded for huge gains ahead

The 13 power players in VP pick Kamala Harris’ inner circle. If Joe Biden ousts Trump in November, her longtime allies could land White House jobs or other key roles.

A leaked memo shows Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch is dealing with ‘many’ violations by financial adviser trainees working from home, so it’s paused their reach-outs to new clients

Tech sales and marketing salaries revealed: How much enterprise giants IBM, Oracle, Dell, Cisco, and VMware pay sales reps, managers, and consultants

The 24 power players using TikTok to transform the music industry, from marketers and record execs to artists

Steve Cohen’s Point72 and other hedge funds are sending urgent requests to find a replacement after Robinhood data on hot stock trades suddenly went dark

The cannabis-tech startup Fyllo used this pitch deck to land $26 million. Here’s an inside look at how it’s using AI to shape the future of cannabis retail.

Equifax’s CTO walked us through a Google Cloud migration that’s addressing security concerns, cutting $240 million in costs, and helping speed up product launches


Disclosure: Palantir Technologies CEO Alexander Karp is a member of Axel Springer’s shareholder committee. Axel Springer owns Insider Inc, Business Insider’s parent company.

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