The Lily Drone is dead even with $35M in pre-orders

The once promising, smiling drone fails to take flight

Lily Drone is dead

It felt like ages ago when Lily Robotics entered the drone foray with a dazzling video that promised some pretty amazing features (then) for a drone. The Lily collected more than $34 million in pre-orders from 60,000 customers. Word on the street is that Lily Robotics failed to secure the financing for full-scale production. Today, it’s been announced the Lily Drone is dead.


The news was released in a blog post titled “The Adventure Comes to an End,” Lily founders Antoine Balaresque and Henry Bradlow said they would be offering refunds to all customers, and that they were “sorry and disappointed” about the company’s demise.

“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).”

Customers should receive refunds over the next 60 days, though if the card used to pre-order the drone is now expired, they’ll need to fill out a form.

lily drone is dead

The news will be a blow to backers who were pumped about Lily’s promise. Early promo footage of the drone offered a persuasive case of how smart sensing technology could turn quadcopters into powerful photography devices.

Activating the drone was as simple as throwing it into the air, and the Lily could automatically follow users with a tracking puck, shooting pictures and video along the way. The drone was supposed to be waterproof and offer battery life of up to 20 minutes, with a pre-order price of $499.

Another one bites the dust

Lily isn’t the first drone to die from lack of funding – far from it actually. For instance, them failed drone Zano (Europe’s biggest Kickstarter failure), proved that the step from prototypes to full-scale manufacturing is a difficult one. And in an industry where margins are tight and even well-established firms like Parrot are downsizing, the Lily’s failure is a disappointment rather than a surprise.

Lily Robotics stormed into the world with a follow-along camera drone that earned $34 million in pre-orders. But the company has now admitted that it can’t deliver the product, and will wind down in the near future.

The devices are, apparently, pretty much ready to go after lots of testing, but extensive R&D costs cleaned out Lily’s bank accounts. That meant that there was no cash left over to fund the production run and outside investment was not forthcoming.

Thankfully, the remaining money will be used to reimburse those people who pre-ordered the device, so the blog post claims. If you still own the card that was used in the initial transactions, you don’t have to do anything, but those who’ve switched will need to fill out this form.