The Lily Drone Is No More, Refunds Promised

Despite $34 million in pre-orders, the Lily drone will not see the light of day. After three years of development, the team has announced that they have run out of funds and will be refunding anyone who pre-ordered the device.

The Lily drone captured the imagination of a lot of people with its "throw and go" approach, in which users could literally throw the drone in the air and it would follow their every movement. Unfortunately, the founders of the company have announced that despite successful testing and being on the verge of producing consumer-ready units, they could not secure the additional funding needed for a production run. Nonetheless, the company will be offering full refunds on all pre-orders in the next 60 days. If you still have the original card you used, you don't need to take any further action. If you don't, you'll need to fill out this form.

It's a shame to hear that the Lily won't make it to market, as it certainly garnered a lot of attention and accolades. It seems to underscore that the drone market is especially difficult to get into, as we've also seen with the difficulties GoPro has had. 

[via sUAS News]

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19 Comments

Joe Black's picture

Wonder how much this has to do with liabilities.

Matthew Hoffart's picture

Possible? Lack of "Human Control"?

Joe Black's picture

I guess we would never know but my money would be on that yes. In the advent of all this FAA regulations on Drones it would be hard for someone to allow a completely unmanned drone even if its "following" someone. If I were investing in this product as a venture capitalist r I would think of this as a high liability investment and would refrain from it.

Also since they are giving all the money back tells me that they were not cash poor. So its not a cash issue. If you have 34M in the bank as a startup just to give back to pre-orders then I would say something else is the story :D

Lee Morris's picture

This product has been a rollercoaster. I heard about it and thought: "there is no way this will ever get made." And then I saw an actual working prototype in their video and thought: "holy shit they actually did it." And now you're telling me that $34 million in preorders wasn't enough to build this thing when they had already built what looked like a fully working unit? I don't get it.

Matthew Hoffart's picture

I agree. I was shocked when I saw the video. I thought it would be so fun to have clients interact with a drone that did it's own thing during an outside session. $34 million AFTER all the initial funding they had to build a fully working unit.. Seems super sketchy.. No doubt they are hiding the root cause for abandoning ship.

Patrick Hall's picture

I don't think this is a money grab necessarily but if you read how they are doing their refunds it says they are refunding the original card used to place the order. If your card has expired or changed you need to contact them. I wonder what percentage of pre orders will go completely unreconciled because the order was placed 2 years ago. They could still make millions without even releasing a product.

Peter Timmer's picture

exactly what i was thinking, i bet we'll hear more about this in the upcoming months

Gary Winchester Martin's picture

I pre-ordered it and was part of that initial group. By March of last year though I asked for a refund and they gave it back pretty quickly. About $500 I believe.

Patrick Hall's picture

Well that is reassuring. Again, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt but when a preorder fails after this amount of time I'm sure many will forget about it.

Nathan Hamler's picture

EXACTLY! With the global market and manufacturing abilities now, how is it possible this drone cant get made for $34M!! Unreal....and when you look at all the $20 drones that are coming out of China now, that prob cost $3 to make, how is this one THAT much more advanced.....??

Patrick Hall's picture

Having a physical product made and sold myself, I can guarantee you a drone of this magnitude does not cost less than $20 to make.

Chris Adval's picture

The founders are out of their depth, lack experience in getting this large production going without killing margins and such. A Shark from the Shark Tank would take this and earn a few hundred mil easily...

Jonathan Reid's picture

After ordering my Mavic in November and still having not received it, I wonder if the Mavic is going the same way.

LA M's picture

DJI is a very different company financially...they already have the infrastructure in place to produce the Mavic and everything else in the pipeline.

PS I got my Mavic shortly before XMAS after waiting a bit over a month.

Lee Morris's picture

We just got one yesterday actually. I need to test it out soon.

Jonathan Reid's picture

Rub it in...seriously through, two months!

Chris Adval's picture

Even though GoPro is having a difficult time... if they got cash in their reserves to invest, I'd invest the production run for either all or like 40% of the equity. This will make a huge ROI. A smart shark from shark tank would at least buy the patents and rights to do this themselves cause its obvious the founders were out of their depth.

Mike Bevil's picture

The drone industry is in a sorry state. Nobody can compete with the Chinese manufacturing or the early head start of DJI. They have an insurmountable lead that I am not sure any other company will have a chance for many years. 3DR gone. Parrot gone. Yuneec gone likely soon. Lily gone. The GoPro Karma will fail (and possibly take GoPro down with it as a final blow to their stock price). It is a good thing that DJI is at least making great products...because they will be the only choice you have other than Chinese brands you never heard of.

Paul Wolf's picture

I`m still trying to get my refund. They said it was sent. Never seen it ? ? ? ?
$ 800 gone ...someone help. Disabled Veteran.
I purchased it for a group of us and others were going to chip in.
So much for being a nice guy.