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In-Q-Tel Goes Dormant, But Its Startups Are Alive And Kicking

December 15, 2014

All has been quiet on the In-Q-Tel front for months now, but the startups it has backed continue to rake in millions in follow-on VC dollars.

Palantir, Silicon Valley’s big data company that’s currently raising up to $400 million in new venture funding, was a seed investment of In-Q-Tel’s back in 2005.

Nearly ten years later, Palantir is the highest valued In-Q-Tel company, ranking in 6th on the Unicorn list with a most recent valuation of $9.3 billion. It leads the pack in follow-on funding raised, second only to Cloudera.

Launched in 1999 to keep the CIA equipped with the latest technology, In-Q-Tel has backed four billion-dollar Unicorn companies – Cloudera, Pure Storage, and MongoDB, along with Palantir.

IQT participated in 20 funding rounds in 2012 and another 16 in 2013, primarily in analytics and enterprise software startups. But the CIA’s VC has considerably slackened its pace this year, recording only 4 investments in the first quarter of this year and nothing since.

The not-for-profit venture firm has seen 4 exits so far this year, and not a single one of the 107 startups it’s backed has failed.

The government’s stamp of approval seems to appeal to VCs, particularly the corporate venture arms like Intel Capital, Samsung Ventures, and Google Ventures that it counts among its most frequent co-investors.

It’s unclear why we’re not seeing any recent action out of In-Q-Tel, but if the rest of its portfolio continues to perform as well as Palantir, we can expect the CIA’s VC to see some big returns in the year to come.

Photo via Flickr user Global Panorama.