SoftBank leads Mapbox fundraising as it pushes into AI

Financial Times
By Leo Lewis
September 19, 2023

Soft­Bank is lead­ing a $280mn fund­ing round in US loca­tion-map­ping com­pa­ny Map­box, as the Japan­ese conglomerate’s founder and chief exec­u­tive Masayoshi Son steps up his deal­mak­ing in arti­fi­cial intelligence.

The invest­ment in San Fran­cis­co-based Map­box, accord­ing to peo­ple close to Soft­Bank, is part of a push into AI that ful­fils Son’s promise to go on the “coun­terof­fen­sive” and has includ­ed dis­cus­sions with mul­ti­ple poten­tial invest­ment tar­gets includ­ing OpenAI.

Map­box soft­ware sits behind the in-car nav­i­ga­tion sys­tems of Toy­ota, BMW, Gen­er­al Motors and oth­ers — sys­tems that are increas­ing­ly adap­tive to chang­ing con­di­tions and whose abil­i­ty to process new infor­ma­tion will be crit­i­cal as vehi­cles become more autonomous.

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