Mapbox announced $164 million in new funding today as the San Francisco startup became the latest technology company to dip into SoftBank’s $100 billion investment fund.
The Series C round was led by the SoftBank Vision Fund, with participation from existing investors including Foundry Group, DFJ Growth, DBL Partners and Thrive Capital.
Mapbox is behind a mapping and location platform that’s used by 900,000 developers. The digital mapping startup said it collects over 200 million miles of road and terrain sensor data per day, processing it in real-time to make continuous map, location search and navigation updates.
“We are mapping and measuring everything,” said Mapbox CEO Eric Gundersen in a release. “The SoftBank team understands that location data is transformational to every industry. Additional capital accelerates our speed of capturing the market. This is a step function move that will transform the fundamentals of how everything—people and goods—move through our world.”
Mapbox is a foundation for other platforms, enabling developers to integrate their cloud-based data into maps anything from ride-sharing applications to social media platforms. An alternative to Google Maps, the platform is used by ride-hailing service Lyft and companies like Snap, Mastercard, CNN and the Weather Channel—whether that’s sharing Snapchat stories on a map or visualizing storms.
The investment in a mapping tool isn’t a surprising move from SoftBank as the company has been in talks to invest up to $10 billion in Uber.
“Location data is central and mission-critical to the development of the world’s most exciting technologies, from autonomous transportation to robotics through to AR and VR,” said Rajeev Misra, CEO of SoftBank Investment Advisors. “Mapbox has a unique platform using decentralized, anonymized sensors to map the world live. By investing in Mapbox, we are investing in the foundational infrastructure for the next stage of the Information Revolution.”
The new capital will be used to build out an automotive unit, including in-car navigation and autonomous driving by expanding Mapbox’s deep learning and vision capabilities. Mapbox said it will also grow the platform’s AR/VR and gaming investments and speed up its international expansion plans in Southeast Asia, China and Europe.