It had to happen, Lily Drone has fallen to earth. I only hope that the team at Lily do give all the money back to those who pre-ordered. It should be an automatic refund, in the next 60 days. I would be rather inclined to keep a sharp eye on it.
ED: UPDATE 2017-01-14: San Francisco District Attorney files lawsuit and restraining order against Lily Robotics on charges of misleading business practises and false advertising.
Where do we start unpacking the failure of Lily? From the outset, the established press loved the hype. Anyone in the know could see that the original design did not physically have the sensors onboard to fulfill its claims. No sonar for instance.
It seems that the lofty goals and dreams of 2010 are coming home to roost. They are looking rather tattered. Perhaps 2017 will turn out to be the year the industry grew up, and investors became more discerning.
Time to get on with the real work.
The founders of Lily released an email overnight to their supporters:
Antoine and Henry here from the Lily team. When Lily set out on the journey to create a flying camera over three years ago, we were determined to develop and deliver a product that would exceed your expectations.
In the past year, the Lily family has had many ups and downs. We have been delighted by the steady advancements in the quality of our product and have received great feedback from our Beta program. At the same time, we have been racing against a clock of ever-diminishing funds. 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 (details below).
We want to thank you for sticking with us and believing in us during this time. Our community was the drive that kept us going even as circumstances became more and more difficult. Your encouraging words through our forums and in your emails gave us hope and the energy we needed to keep fighting.
Before we sign off, we want to thank all the people who have worked at Lily, who have partnered with us, and who have invested in us. Thank you for giving your all, nights, weekends and holidays, in the effort to deliver a great product.
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.
Lily will be offering a refund to customers over the next 60 days. We will be initiating refunds to the payment card used for the original transaction (no action is required on your part; please allow 14 days for the refund to appear on your statement).
If the card you used is expired, please fill out this form so we can work with you on providing a refund by other means (e.g., PayPal or check).
So there we have it, another two founders from Forbes 2015 30 under 30 bite the dust. The other one was Jordi Muñoz who was forced out of 3D Robotics.
In the drone world awards from CES and Forbes seem to be the kiss of death.
A shout out to Glen from http://www.flyingrobot.com.au for tipping me off.