‘It’s damaging for the American brand’ — Palantir CEO slams the US government shutdown

The 33-day-old government shutdown is damaging to the American brand, Palantir Technologies CEO Alex Karp told CNBC on Wednesday.

“As an American citizen and someone who is running a company who sells their product abroad, I’d prefer if we’d figure out a way to have a better situation,” Karp told CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin on “Squawk Box” from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“You feel the pain” for federal workers who have been furloughed or are working without pay as the shutdown persists, he said. “It’s damaging for the American brand to have something from the outside that doesn’t seem to make sense.”

President Donald Trump and Democrats who now control the House are in stalemate over funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The president has demanded that any deal to end the shutdown must include funds toward the construction of a barrier. Democrats have refused to allocate any money for a wall.

The shutdown has sidelined a majority of the workers at the Securities and Exchange Commission, and some on Wall Street are concerned that initial public offerings could be disrupted this year. Palantir is reportedly considering an IPO as soon as 2019.

When asked whether he expected the shutdown to impact Palantir’s IPO plans, Karp responded with, “No.”

Karp also ripped his Silicon Valley peers for refusing to work with the government to keep Americans safe.

“That is a loser position. It is not intelligible,” he said, referring to some big tech companies that won’t take government contracts.

Founded in 2004 by a group of ex-Stanford students including Karp, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and Joe Lonsdale, Palantir provides software that customers use to import volumes of disparate data, such as spreadsheets and images, into a central database where it can be analyzed and interpreted with maps and charts.

The company is best known for providing services to government agencies including the CIA, FBI and Defense Department.

— CNBC’s Josh Lipton contributed to this report.

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