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Uber snaps up mapping company deCarta

The ride-hailing service acquires deCarta to amp up its carpooling feature and the way it figures out passengers' ETAs.

Uber buys mapping company deCarta to boost some of the maps features in its app. Uber

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced six months ago that the ride-hailing service had no plans to buy other companies. But times have changed.

Uber announced Tuesday it's acquiring mapping and search startup deCarta to help improve its car-pool service and to better calculate how long passengers' Uber rides will take. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

"A lot of the functionality that makes the Uber app so reliable, affordable and seamless is based on mapping technologies," an Uber spokeswoman said in an e-mailed statement. "With the acquisition of deCarta, we will continue to fine-tune our products and services that rely on maps."

Uber, a smartphone app that pairs passengers in need of a ride with drivers, has raised $5.9 billion since it was founded in 2009. That makes it the second-most valued venture-backed company in the world, with a valuation of $41 billion. The influx of investor money has allowed Uber to expand into more cities and countries and to acquire smaller companies -- though it hasn't really talked about any of its takeovers before today. Uber said it's made a very small number of other acquisitions, but it hasn't disclosed the names of the companies.

At the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco last September, Kalanick said Uber was "not in acquisition mode."

"Uber has not acquired a single company," he said at the time. "We are focused on the product. We are in 45 countries. We haven't spent time on [mergers and acquisitions]."

With deCarta, Uber plans to boost the maps used to help riders join in car pools, a feature dubbed UberPool. The company also plans to improve the way it computes passengers' estimated-time-of-arrivals. San Jose, Calif.-based deCarta was founded in 1996 as a software platform that provides location-based features, like mapping, search and navigation.

According to Mashable, which first reported the deal, deCarta will keep working under its own name as a subsidiary of Uber and 30 of deCarta's 40 employees will also continue on with the company.