Lily drone delays


“Right now, the consumer drones market is about where we were with MP3 players when Creative Labs ‘ Nomad was the top selling device and there was no iPod,” According to Bijan Sabet, a general partner at Spark Capital, he also said said that Lily’s founders had created a unique product through a combination of design, technology and vision. “I admire their passion and commitment in delivering an amazing experience for their customers,” Mr. Sabet said.

I’m not sure I agree and perhaps that is more worrying than the shipping delay itself.

It’s not unusual for crowd-funded projects to delay.

Like the recently folded Zano, the Lily folks made some very fancy performance claims. For something that was supposed to be waterproof from the outset, see around the minute mark in their promotional video.

I find it astounding that they are only waterproofing the sonar now. Note in the still from Lily, no sonar on the bottom of that promo video bird.

As for the $15 million dollars, well to me it sounds like they are trying to create the real product now and that money will not last long. The Shark Tank effect might have taken hold here.

Dear Lily Community,

Over the past few weeks, we’ve delivered several engineering and manufacturing updates to your inbox. If you have been following along, you already know that we’ve redesigned the tracker, set up and tested our production line, and recorded video using the first units off the line.

Right now, our team is working relentlessly on Lily Camera’s flight control software. We’ve hit some challenges there, but rest assured, it’s nothing our team can’t handle. We just need more time. To accommodate flight software optimization, hardware improvements, and additional rounds of testing, we will be delaying pre-order shipments until Summer 2016. This was not a decision taken lightly. The key elements that led us to adjust our production timeline are outlined below:

  • We hit roadblocks with our flight software. After launching our pre-order campaign, component optimizations required us to redesign core parts of our flight software to achieve smoother and more stable flight. This turned out to be a larger undertaking than expected. Due to the enhancements we made, Lily Camera now has more stable and responsive flight capabilities.
  • We made important modifications to Lily Camera hardware. First, we added a waterproof sonar sensor for flight stability. Second, we upgraded our computer vision processing unit to enhance tracking performance. Third, Lily Camera’s internal structure was redesigned to reduce weight and increase strength.
  • We need more time for testing. We have produced a total of 200 units so far and our team has started taking these out into the world. In order to thoroughly test the software and hardware updates we’ve developed over the past few months, we need to test Lily Camera in the most extreme conditions your adventures will take it. This includes (but is not limited to) high altitudes, breakneck speeds, rough and tumble waves, and beyond.

Lily is now 37 individuals strong and we are confident about the solutions our crew has put in place to address each of the issues listed above. We believe all of these changes are significant and it is our responsibility to not overlook them. Perfecting your Lily experience is our number one priority, always.

In the interest of transparency, we’d also like to shed some light on our financials. Some of you have asked about the status of your pre-order funds. As you may know, we are a privately funded company, not a crowd-funded project. This means that we are not using your money to run the company. Every pre-order dollar we’ve received has been placed in cold storage. We have no plans to use a single cent of that money until your Lily Camera goes into final production.

So how are we handling 37 salaries, operational costs, and R&D?

Today, we’re pleased to share that we have secured a total of 15 million dollars in private funding. Our investors include Spark Capital, SV Angel, the Stanford-StartX Fund, as well as musician Steve Aoki and football legend Joe Montana (more details here). We are very fortunate to have the support of this incredible group of people. This backing allows us to progress toward our ship date, expand the team as needed, and remain laser-focused on delivering a state of the art flying camera to you in Summer 2016.

As our engineering team continues to tackle interesting challenges, we want you to have the highest level of visibility on our day-to-day progress. That’s why we’ve decided to post daily updates straight from the team, right here. If at any point you would like to learn more about these updates, send a note over to Customer Experience at [email protected].

As always, we can provide you with a full refund anytime from the moment you purchase your Lily Camera until 30 days after your order arrives, no questions asked. Just email us with your order number and the email address you used to place your order, and you’ll be all set.

With that said, we hope each and every one of you remains on this journey with us. Stay tuned.
Antoine and Henry