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SoftBank leads $257m investment in US map and AI startups

Money used for autonomous driving, machine learning, other technologies

NEW YORK -- Japanese telecom giant SoftBank Group has invested in two U.S. companies, a map software startup and an artificial intelligence startup, the two American companies said on Tuesday.

Mapbox, based in San Francisco, said it has received an investment worth $164 million from a group of investors, including SoftBank Vision Fund, set up jointly with the government of Saudi Arabia among others, and several venture capitals. The investment will be used in three areas: autonomous driving, augmented reality, and virtual reality technologies for games and expansion into China, Southeast Asia and Europe.

Pittsburgh-based Petuum, which specializes in machine learning, said it has received $93 million from SoftBank and others. The startup hopes to spread machine learning technology, currently employed by only a handful of big information technology companies, to other businesses.

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