Founders of the highly anticipated drone called Lily, which raised $34 million in pre-orders in early 2015, announced on Thursday that it will not be going into production.
Despite raising such a large sum in pre-orders without the help of crowd-sourcing platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, as well as receiving $14 million in VC funding, and having discussions with Snap Inc. just last month, Lily informed pre-order customers on Monday that it was “unable” to secure the necessary financing for manufacturing and shipping.
Customers who pre-ordered the Lily drone will get refunds, but it’s not a stretch to assume that they’d rather get the Lily.
Back when Lily was accepting pre-orders, there were few, if any, user-friendly drones that didn’t require a lot of time and practice to master the controls and to capture good video with the drone’s camera. I have some experience with the DJI Phantom 4, and I can say it’s not easy to get good, appealing footage.
The Lily drone sought to fix that. Here are all the reasons why the Lily drone caused so much excitement and managed to collect $34 million from consumers:
Lily was designed so that owners could “throw and go.” The drone would turn on and hover automatically when you threw it up it the air.
- Lily / YouTube
You could even chuck it in water, and Lily wouldn’t care because it was water proof. It would have been able to take video from underwater, too. It wasn’t fragile like the majority of drones available at the time.
The most appealing feature was a tracker that you could carry around in your pocket or backpack.
- Steven Tweedie
And the Lily drone would automatically follow you with the tracker.
You could also have controlled the angles the Lily drone followed you with the tracker itself, like setting it to lead in front. It’s much easier to use than a chunky remote with a ton of buttons you could accidentally press.
And using the tracker to control the Lily meant less risk of damaging your smartphone to change the Lily’s settings.
Now, there are a bunch of drones that tout similar easy-to-use, hassle-free, auto-tracking functionality of the Lily drone.
Drones like the Hover, which is available to buy now for $599, boats 4K video capture and an auto-follow feature, and there are a few more out there that are currently in the pre-order phase, like Staaker and Snap.
DJI and Parrot, two of the biggest names in the drone industry, have also added auto-follow functionality to their drones after Lily’s Kickstarter announcement in early 2015.