Eugene Hoshiko / AP

Zoox, the secretive Silicon Valley startup building a completely self-driving car, has held discussions with SoftBank Group about a new funding round that could value the company at between $3 billion and $4 billion, Axios has learned from multiple sources. The talks are still at a preliminary stage, the sources caution, and may not result in a deal.

Big checks: It's no surprise that Zoox is raising so much money — one source tells Axios it's seeking to raise at least $1 billion —given its ambitions. Unlike other startups in the self-driving car realm, Zoox wants to build the entire robot car from the ground up, not just specialized software. This takes huge amounts of money and resources.

SB plan: SoftBank has spread its money around in the self-driving car wars, apparently more interested in betting on a secular shift than in any particular winner.

Funding history: Zoox so far has raised just over $250 million, most recently at a post-money valuation of around $1.55 billion. Shareholders include Breyer Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Lux Capital, Raptor Group and Thomas Tull. It's also made some notable hires in the last few months, including former NHTSA Mark Rosekind, rocket scientist Brandon Pearce, and recently poached 17 engineers from Apple.

Go deeper

New York City schools will not fully reopen in fall

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at a press conference on Wednesday that schools will not fully reopen in fall, and will instead adopt a hybrid model that will limit in-person attendance to just one to three days a week.

Why it matters: New York City, once the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, is home to the nation's largest public school district — totaling 1,800 schools and 1.1 million students, according to the New York Times. The partial reopening plan could prevent hundreds of thousands of parents from fully returning to work.

Treasury blames lenders for PPP disclosure debacle

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. Treasury Department is pointing the finger at lenders for errors discovered in Monday's PPP data disclosure.

What they're saying: "Companies listed had their PPP applications entered into SBA’s Electronic Transmission (ETran) system by an approved PPP lender. If a lender did not cancel the loan in the ETran system, the loan is listed," a senior administration official said.

Updated 46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 11,863,477 — Total deaths: 544,949 — Total recoveries — 6,483,402Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 2,996,679 — Total deaths: 131,486 — Total recoveries: 936,476 — Total tested: 36,878,106Map.
  3. Public health: Deaths are rising in hotspots — Déjà vu sets in as testing issues rise and PPE dwindles.
  4. Travel: How the pandemic changed mobility habits, by state.
  5. Education: Harvard and MIT sue Trump administration over rule barring foreign students from online classes.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: A misinformation "infodemic" is here.