Palantir Technologies CEO Alex Karp expressed his support for Reddit traders who bet on heavily shorted stocks, including his own, in January when the GameStop mania was at its peak.
The Denver, Colorado-based company saw its share price soar to their highest on January 27 at $45 each. Palantir, the secretive big data company founded by Peter Thiel, continued to spark interest from traders who congregate virtually in Reddit’s Wall Street Bets forum.
“I like so-called retail investors for lots of reasons,” Karp told CNBC in a live event on Wednesday. “I’m very proud that normal people, investing their own money, with their own risk, making their own opinion, made a lot of money.”
The Palantir co-founder explained that this sentiment was part of the reason his company opted for a direct listing in September 2020, after 17 years of being private, instead of a traditional IPO. Karp said it was to ensure the field was equal for retail and institutional investors.
While Karp is not against short selling, he did reinforce his stance on the importance of putting more priority on longer-term gains.
“We’re in this for the long haul,” the CEO said. “If you are speculating or you’re thinking about this short-term, there are plenty of other things to invest in. If you want something else, it’s a huge world. Buy some other stock. You don’t have to buy Palantir. No one is forcing you.”
He criticized the short-term profit mentality as “one of the most destructive, corrosive attributes of an otherwise interesting and largely functioning system.”
“We told the Wall Streeters that we will focus on building the long-term health of our company, that we are going to invest in our product development and in our clients, and you just have to battle it out with them,” he said.
Palantir is known for its work with government agencies and law enforcement around the world through its use of data analytics.
Palantir shares traded lower by 2.51% to $24.97 as of 10:01 am ET.