Lily Drone, it’s a cruel cruel summer

Midsummer Day, the feast of St. John has come and gone. August and with it the first glimpse of Autumn just ahead. Many are still waiting for their Lily Drone. It is still slated for a late summer launch and that, to my mind, is now.

As dungaree clad Bananarama might say its been a cruel cruel summer for those waiting.

Founded 2013 in Berkeley, California by UC Berkeley alums Antoine Balaresque and Henry Bradlow, Lily found funding fast. Perhaps riding on the coat tails of that other Berkeley drone company 3DR. They managed to raise $1m in seed funding in April 2014.Antoine Balaresque Lily Drone

This brought us into the 2015 Lily Drone hype. Perhaps history will show that Lily hit the market at peak drone nonsense. They managed to raise $34 million dollars in 60k units in pre orders. In December 2015, Lily closed Series A funding round of $14m, lead by Spark Capital. Other investors are the Stanford-StartX Fund, DJ Steve Aoki and the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana.

So from zero to $49 million dollars in three years, with no product out the door.

Early backers have already noticed that 1080k cameras are well, so very 2013. A request has gone in for what is now fast becoming standard, 4K on Lily’s Facebook page. This was the response.

Lily Tom Rdts Sorry about that! Currently the Lily Camera is equipped with 1080p but we are looking into 4k. I can’t guarantee that it will be ready in time for the launch but I hope it will! We are testing different camera modes as well and we will potentially be able to update the camera through future updates.

It’s normal to expect some delays, but are these making the platform obsolete before it arrives? Have 60,000 people funded yesterday’s drone?

I hope I am wrong, I hope Lily is out soon and exceeds the expectations of its backers.

Three years in the RPA world has to have some sort of dog years value. 15 normal years maybe.

Whilst waiting for Lily many things have happened….

China is banging out follow me wristband operated 4k sub $500 machines left right and centre.

DJI has very accomplished, and perhaps more frank-wangimportantly, aftermarket vendor support platforms for less than $1000 that can do real work. DJI founder Frank Wang has also said he will crush opposition on price. So far that’s working.

Only Yuneec is making a solid play against DJI in the prosumer market. It’s early days for them they have many fans and are doing well. They have made it a two horse race.

What is the punchline to this?

My view is that companies with a vision must only start shouting about it when they have proved it works at the price point predicted.

Let’s just park the Nvidia and other much smarter board computers that are going to flood the market next year. Would be a great surprise if Lily had something like that inside it at launch. A playing field leveling surprise.  (I took a while to park that thought)