MiningLamp Technology: Another Palantir?

March 30, 2020

DarkCyber found “China’s Palantir MiningLamp Raises US$300 Million in Funding Round Co-Led by Temasek, Tencent” intriguing. Palantir Technologies, a company providing commercial and government services, has obtained about $2 billion in funding since it was founded in 2003. Furthermore, Palantir in the past 17 years has worked to become the Analyst Notebook and BAE NetReveal for some of its clients. Note that Analyst Notebook was founded in the early 1990s and BAE’s initial intelware products date from a few years later. In short, MiningLamp wants to become:

  1. A company that requires decades to gain momentum
  2. A company that requires billions in funding or the support of a giant industrialized services firm like BAE to survive
  3. Expert lobbying to spark and obtain government contracts
  4. Remain out of the public spotlight while endeavoring to displace products that are long in the tooth.

Does this make sense? Of course, the MiningLamp operation wants to be a global software and services company. The backers of MiningLamp want to have a seat at the table when certain types of projects are planned and executed.

The write up does not point out these rather obvious facts. DarkCyber learned:

Founded in 2014, MiningLamp gained initial success by offering online ad performance evaluations and fraud detection services for advertisers, before expanding the business to industries such as public security, smart cities, finance, logistics, entertainment, retail and manufacturing.

What’s MiningLamp’s technology deliver?

Although not as well known as US equivalent Palantir Technologies, which reportedly contributed to America’s success in hunting down Osama bin Laden, MiningLamp’s data mining software is used to spot crime patterns, track drug dealers and prevent human trafficking.

Plus, the write up points out:

The company’s software enables users to search huge volumes of heterogeneous data – information with a great variety of types and formats – and process that into actionable knowledge and insight using a combination of proprietary data management tools.

The interesting point is that advertising technology leads to a Palantir metaphor. The second fact is that the funding is anchored in Singapore and the allegedly independent company Tencent. There’s no reference to any other funding, including funding from Chinese government entities or fellow travelers. Finally, Singapore has become a hub for many companies engaged in Palantir-like activities. Need a bagel? Singapore has them because there are quite a few foreign nationals who crave this food essential.

Now how much revenue can specialized software companies generate. Analyst Notebook, BAE NetReveal, Recorded Future, and similar firms do generate revenues, but none of these companies bang into glass ceilings and walls. For example, how many government agencies are there that can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars and dedicate personnel to using these intelware systems? Are there other benefits to companies in the intelware business? The market for intelware is tough to move laterally. Talk about intelware methods and customers in non-government sectors, and many of the prospects get really nervous. There are good reasons.

Is MiningLamp another Palantir? Sure, it will require large amounts of cash, lobbyist support, and funding the peculiar and costly intelware marketing puzzle.

There are interesting facets to the MiningLamp effort, but DarkCyber does not think the answer will be found in providing Bluedot-type services or morphing into an outfit like Palantir Technologies. Palantir, DarkCyber recalls, has experienced employee protests, litigation with Analyst Notebook related to reverse engineering the ANB file format, and bureaucratic scuffles with procurement professionals.

Another Palantir? Maybe, maybe not. Those writing checks for $300 million may be surprised at the intelware market’s behavior. Will the Five Eyes sign up for MiningLamp licenses? Maybe, maybe not.

Stephen E Arnold, March 30, 2020

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