SoftBank Corp. and Mapbox, the mapping information company that competes with Google and Here, revealed that they have established a joint endeavor called Mapbox Japan. The JV will supply Mapbox’s mapping platform, including APIs and information services, to designers in Japan. In between June 1 and September 30, Mapbox Japan will likewise provide up to 3 months of totally free assistance for organizations developing COVID-19 related mapping services, including infection cases and statistical data, for developers in the nation, which has counted on tracking virus clusters to limit the spread of infections.

Mapbox gathers data from sources including federal government and commercial databases, and uses them in customizable AI-based APIs, SDKs and other products. Its clients have actually consisted of Facebook, Snap, the New York Times, the Federal Communications Commission and automotive companies like Land Rover and Rimac.

Established in 2010 by Eric Gunderson, Mapbox states its tech now reaches more than 600 million month-to-month users. SoftBank Vision Fund led Mapbox’s $164 million Series C in 2017. At the time, Gunderson told TechCrunch that part of the financing would be used to expand in Asia through SoftBank’s presence in areas including Southeast Asia and China.

Mapbox has operated in Japan since July 2019, though that was through partnerships with Yahoo! Japan and Zenrin, one of the country’s most significant mapping software companies. Zenrin also has a partnership with Google Maps, however early last year Google started lowering the amount of mapping information it utilizes from Zenrin, perhaps to focus on building its own trove of mapping data in Japan.

Working carefully with Zenrin opens possible new opportunities for Mapbox in Japan. Last year, Gunderson told Nikkei Asian Evaluation that “we are going to be the primary mapping service provider in all of Japan and we’ll be able to do this because we have the very best data in all of Japan through our collaboration with Zenrin.” The company prepares to establish products for the Japanese market that consist of mapping services for commercial automation.

In SoftBank’s announcement, Eric Gan, SoftBank Corp. head of organisation development, said, “I am very delighted to bring Mapbox’s technology to Japan to assist enterprises improve their current mapping services while also creating brand-new adjustable location-based services and management tools. We are seeing a substantial increase in need for Mapbox’s products from retail, ride-share, hotel, office-sharing, manufacturing, payment and mobility industries.”

Article curated by RJ Shara from Source. RJ Shara is a Bay Area Radio Host (Radio Jockey) who talks about the startup ecosystem – entrepreneurs, investments, policies and more on her show The Silicon Dreams. The show streams on Radio Zindagi 1170AM on Mondays from 3.30 PM to 4 PM.