Drones

Lily drone shuts down, gears up for $34 million in refunds

Lily drone shuts down, gears u...
Lily drone isn't the first crowdfunding campaign to flop, and it won't be the last
Lily drone isn't the first crowdfunding campaign to flop, and it won't be the last
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Lily drone isn't the first crowdfunding campaign to flop, and it won't be the last
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Lily drone isn't the first crowdfunding campaign to flop, and it won't be the last

We've covered more than a few crowdfunding campaigns for drones in the last few years, but none have garnered quite the fanfare nor the cash of the much-hyped Lily camera drone. Promising autonomous flight and shooting modes after simply being tossed into the air, its makers are set to deliver on neither after today announcing they will be winding down operations.

When it comes to consumer drones with a high-level of autonomy, Lily was very much an early mover when it opened up preorders back in May 2015. Well, so it seemed anyway. Racking up a massive US$34 million in funding in the process, the company appeared as well placed as any drone startup to fly through production and bring its aircraft to the masses.

But after much delay, the company announced today in a blog post that it will be shutting down and offering refunds to its customers. It says it has been working against "a clock of ever-diminishing funds," and in the last few months has made one final push to secure further investment and manufacture its first units, but to no avail.

The news is sure to disappoint the 60,000 or so people to preorder the drone. The company does emphasize, however, that it is offering refunds to every last one by returning money to the credit card used for the original transaction. For those whose cards have expired, they will need to fill out a form (details via the source link below).

Lily drone isn't the first crowdfunding campaign to flop, and it won't be the last, but does go to show that even the most cashed up of inventors can struggle to overcome the bumps on the road to a real-world product.

Source: Lily

7 comments
over_there
How could this fail. Basically all the information needed to make this is available for free on the internet and a quadcopter has minimal custom parts.
Leonard Foster Jr
WOW i make real Made in The U.S.A Products and can't even raise $100 bucks with crowdfunding yet people can raise millions and don't delver anything. :-(
Syberz
I'm confused, they don't have enough funds to finish, but they have enough to refund 34 million dollars?
phissith
I was going to pulled the trigger in this then with the battery life and too good to be true features, I did not.
HenryArmetta
The only thing airborne by Lily was having everybody's money 'fly away'. Perhaps the 60,000 contributors can each buy lunch with their refunds.
Daishi
The company was funded by VC's but the preorder money likely went into escrow so they are thankfully able to refund it. I read on forbes that they used a DJI Inspire and GoPro to shoot their promo video and never had a finished prototype of the drone. The DA actually filed a lawsuit against them for misleading customers with the launch video which seems like a newish precedent. I think a lot of startups and new companies have faked demos of new products in the past but there has to be a line drawn somewhere when you lie about a product you are taking millions of dollars of money for. As long as people get their money back and they were honest with investors that will lose their money I hope the DA isn't too hard on them but there has to be some lines drawn in the sand when it comes to startups and crowdfunded companies selling lies. I'm just afraid the scams will end up creating a lot of legislation that makes creating legitimate companies difficult for small companies without a lot of capitol or corporate backing. So far every product (~15) I have backed on kickstarter has been successful so there is either way more good than bad ones or I am really good at weeding out vaporware.