Zoox may get SoftBank mega round at a valuation of $3B-$4B

Zoox may get SoftBank mega round at a valuation of $3B-$4B

Zoox may get SoftBank mega round at a valuation of $3B-$4B

Self-driving car startup Zoox Inc. could be the next beneficiary of a shock and awe investment from SoftBank Group Corp.

Axios cites unnamed sources who said that the Menlo Park startup is in talks on a $1 billion funding round that would value it at between $3 billion and $4 billion.

That would be quite a leap for the startup which has raised about $250 million until now, most recently at a valuation of about $1.55 billion.

The talks are reportedly still in the preliminary stages and may not pan out.

But Zoox is trying to build its car from the ground up, unlike the self-driving operating system aspirations that more deep-pocketed rivals Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo have shifted to.

So it will likely need the kind of round that it may get from SoftBank, whose CEO Masayoshi Son said he might try to invest in either Uber Technologies or Lyft Inc., too.

Son likes to make outsized investments of the sort being discusses with Zoox on the theory that they discourage competition. But in the self-driving car sector, there are plenty of tech and auto giants involved already.

Zoox other shareholders includ e Breyer Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Lux Capital, Raptor Group and Thomas Tull.

Zoox reportedly recently hired 17 engineers who have left Apple after the iPhone maker downshifted its own autonomous vehicle development program.