Boise’s PCS Edventures buys racing-drone company

Thrust UAV’s lightweight Riot model is built for racing, including a camera mount.
Thrust UAV’s lightweight Riot model is built for racing, including a camera mount.

PCS Edventures has bought a small startup, Thrust UAV, for $109,000, bringing two Boise companies under the same roof.

The acquisition strengthened PCS Edventures’ in-house engineering and gave it a new product — race drones that fly at more than 100 mph — to supplement PCS’s core education lines, PCS Executive Vice President Robert Grover said. Thrust UAV designs, assembles and sells drones and related products at its website. Grover said drone sales will expand to retail outlets soon.

“Right now, our revenue stream is tied to school budgets,” Grover said. “This brings in a revenue stream and a cash flow that’s outside of the institutional sales cycles, which can improve our quarterly results.”

PCS Edventures has 20 employees at its headquarters at 345 Bobwhite Court off ParkCenter Boulevard. The publicly traded company reported $2.9 million in sales in 2015. It sells kits designed to teach students about science, technology, engineering and mathematics with hands-on projects such as building simple robots and other machines.

Thrust UAV was owned by E.J. Duarte and had one employee, Grover said. Its 2015 revenue was “six figures,” he said.

PCS Edventures worked with Thrust UAV to create eight educational drone kits it sold to Saudi Arabia, Grover said.

“We’ve been working with Thrust for a year now, and the more time we spent together, the more apparent it became that this would be a great marriage,” Grover said.

Racing drones equipped with cameras that give pilots first-person views is gaining popularity around the world, Grover said. Thrust UAV’s Riot race drone enters PCS Edventures into the industry, he said.

“This gives us a more independent and exciting revenue stream to go after, because this market is really growing,” he said.