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Autonomous Lily drone cancelled after $34 million in pre-orders

Published Jan 12th, 2017 4:54PM EST
lily drone refund
Image: Lily

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Back in 2015 a drone was announced that seemed to fulfill what many people actually wanted out of a floating camera. The Lily drone was billed as “the first throw-and-shoot camera,” and a fantastic video helped sell customers on the idea that you could throw the little quadcopter into the air and it would follow you around, filming your every move. It blew up and raised over $34 million in pre-orders from eager buyers at a price of around $800 each. Now, the company is folding, having never shipped a single Lily.

TechCrunch reports that the startup sent an email to its increasingly impatient customer base stating that the company will “wind down” after failing to secure additional funding to get production of the drone off the ground. The company says it will offer customers refunds for their inconvenience.

There were signs that Lily was in trouble early on, missing the original shipping date of its drones which were supposed to start rolling out in mid 2016. That date was then pushed back repeatedly, eventually to 2017. Now it seems there’s no saving Lily from its untimely demise, and not a single one of the charming drones will actually make it into the hands of buyers.

In the time since Lily struck crowdfunding gold many other camera drone competitors have entered the market, and new devices from Parrot and DJI are getting smaller and smarter. Those who pre-ordered a Lily will certainly have plenty of options to spend their refunds on, but it’s an undeniable shame that the drone will never actually see the light of day. Once again, the pitfalls of crowd funding have claimed another victim.