The Lily drone is no more

Yet another successful crowdfunding project has failed even though they raised $34 million proving once again that the step from prototypes to full-scale manufacturing is a difficult one.

So often we hear of the next big thing in the drone world and it needs your backing on some kind of crowdfunding website.
Lily was one of those. It promised us so many amazing features, it looked really cool and an amazing launch price of $499. It got shared over and over again on social networks and gave various drone enthusiasts a bit of a buzz. The campaign raised initially over $34 million US dollars and looked to be one of the most successful campaigns ever.

Here’s the video that you’ve probably seen that got many excited.

Today the people behind Lily have decided to wind up the company and offer refunds to all their backers. In a blog post from their website they state that:

“Over the past few months, we have tried to secure financing in order to unlock our manufacturing line and ship our first units – but have been unable to do this. As a result, we are deeply saddened to say that we are planning to wind down the company and offer refunds to customers”

After so many setbacks and failed promises of deliveries I could understand any backers getting frustrated but once again it seems that the dreams of turning great ideas into a fully working production unit are harder than anyone ever realised.

This is actually a shame, I’m more disappointed than surprised. I thought this would be a successful campaign considering all the excitement it created. OK the Lily drone wasn’t something I bought into as it’s not the kind of drone I’d use but the idea, the concept was brilliant and I imagine it inspired other manufacturers to create a few of these features for their aircraft (Follow Me feature on the Phantom 4 for example). The size must have influenced DJi/GoPro to make a more portable drone.

The team go on to thank the community:

“After so much hard work, we are sad to see this adventure come to an end. We are very sorry and disappointed that we will not be able to deliver your flying camera, and are incredibly grateful for your support as a pre-order customer. Thank you for believing in our vision and giving us the opportunity to get this far. We hope our contribution will help pave the way for the exciting future of our industry.”

I imagine it’s going to be harder for any other drone technology to get the same amount of support on future crowdfunding services due to the massive failure of this drone. Anyone remember the Fleye Drone or the Zano? They failed too plus many others. I really think the next series of Kickstarter inspired projects will need to prove more than just proof of concept but actual proof they could deliver but the step from prototypes to full-scale manufacturing is a difficult one.

Customers should receive refunds over the next 60 days, though if the card used to preorder the drone is now expired, they’ll need to fill out a form.

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