Business / Technology

Location software company Mapbox is in talks to go public

Through a SPAC merger with a company backed by SoftBank, the D.C. mapping company could be worth $2 billion, according to a Sky News report.

At Mapbox's current digs. (Courtesy photo)

D.C. location software company Mapbox is in talks to go public via a merger with a company backed by tech giant SoftBank, Sky News reported Friday.

In a deal that could value the company at around $2 billion, Mapbox would merge with SoftBank’s SVF Investment Corp. 3, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).  Also known as blank check companies, SPACs are created for the purpose of acquiring other companies and taking them public.

Mapbox, a mapping software company with offices on 15th and H Streets NW, works with clients including SnapchatThe Weather ChannelTableau, IBM and DoorDash. Mapbox declined to comment on the deal.

A U.S. banking source told Sky News that the discussions between the two companies are at “advanced stages”, but there’s still room for the deal to fall apart. Investment banks Cantor Fitzgerald, Citi, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and UBS are said to be involved, as well. At present, its unclear how much new capital would come from a private investment in public equity (PIPE) as part of the deal.

This is not the first time that SoftBank and Mapbox have crossed paths. In 2017, SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund led Mapbox’s $164 million Series C raise, making it a shareholder in the company. That round also included investment from Foundry GroupDFJ GrowthDBL Partners, and Thrive Capital. Founder Eric Gundersen said at the time that the funding would be used for building out features for cars as well as expanding its work in augmented and virtual reality. 

“We are mapping and measuring everything,” Gundersen, who transitioned to board chair and chief strategy officer in March as Peter Sirota was appointed to CEO, said in 2017. “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 has about 700 million monthly users of its maps and data. In 2020, it raised $133 million in a deal led by Premji Invest.

Companies: Mapbox

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