Uber buys deCarta to improve UberPool and other services


Despite Uber raising more than $6 billion, the company has been surprisingly stingy and hesitant about acquisitions and mergers thus far. But not any longer. Recently, reports confirm, the company is acquiring deCarta, a mapping and location company that could help Uber to develop new types of service and also ensure its drivers show up on time.

Uber and deCarta

Uber, the popular ride sharing startup,  is acquiring the deCarta for its technology and talent. Founded in 1996, the San Jose startup provides a software platform that focuses on location-based features, including mapping, local search and turn-by-turn navigation. Location services in cars from GM and Ford have been powered by deCarta’s technology, as well as devices from Samsung and Blackberry.

The deal is expected to close later this week and the worth of the deal is not disclosed. But there are rumors that suggest the deal could be worth $56.1 million.

The acquisition will allow Uber to improve its services like UberPool, which allows several people share the same ride, and also gives its users more accurate estimated time of arrival. UberPool has multipke pick up and drop off points so it involves more complex routing data than a regular Uber ride. But regular rides could benefit too, if deCarta’s technology can help Uber drivers know exactly where they are supposed to pick one up.

Apart from the carpooling, Uber expects deCarta could help in the company’s futuristic efforts like developing its own-self driving car technology.

Another reason behind the acquisition could be the Uber’s urgency in weaning itself from Google Maps following the recent Bloomberg Business Report that said the search giant may be prepping its own ride-sharing app. Reports suggest that a Google engineer has only been testing an internal app to help Google employees carpool to work and that the Bloomberg report was blown out of proportion. However, Google is a major investor in Uber, having put at least $258 million in the company.

What Uber has focused on is aggressive global expansion. In February, the company announced a partnership with Starwood Hotel and Resorts where Starwood Preferred Guest members earn points towards free hotel stays for every dollar spent riding Uber. The same month, Uber also expanded its latest funding round by $1 billion up to $2.8 billion, while maintaining a $40 billion valuation.