Lily is the autonomous camera drone which sold around $34 million in pre-order but now the camera drone making company has announced that it is shutting down. A few hours ago, the drone making company sent an email to its customers, in which it said that the startup was unable to raise additional round of funding that would have let it start production of the drone.
Camera Drone Startup Lily winds down its business
In the email, the camera maker announced it will be closing down the company and providing an automatic refund to the customers who pre-ordered the camera drones. In the email, the start-up wrote that they have been racing around a clock of ever-diminishing funds at the same time and they have attempted to secure financing in order to unlock their manufacturing line and ship their first units but have not been able to do this. Further, the statement reads, “As a result, we are deeply saddened to say that we are planning to wind down the company and offer refunds to customers.”
The demise of the camera drone making startup was a slow one. The company had delayed the shipping many times in the past, first in summer of 2016 and then earlier this month. The startup was able to raise a $14M Series A round last year from high profile investors like Steve Aoki, Joe Montana, SV Angel, Spark Capital, and that was supposed to assist the company in producing the drones.
One of the first autonomous AI-assisted camera drones announced globally was Lily and according to TechCrunch, it was supposed to revolutionize the personal camera drone industry. By the time Lily started shipping, other drone makers like DJI and Hover hit the market. DJI had even developed autonomous flight modes for the Inspire (now Mavic) and Phantom. Arguably, these are the best drones in the market.
Investors will be disappointed with Lily and its decision to wind-up
Lily was not able to ship in quantity but it was able to manufacture prototypes and even begin a beta program so consumers could experiment its hardware devices in the wild. TechCrunch learned around two months ago that Snapchat, the social media service, was in primary stage talks to potentially buy the struggling camera company, however, the social media service did not acquire it.
The startup said in its email to customers that it will issue an automatic refund to them within the next two months. If the card used to pre-order has since expired, then there is a special form to fill out. The statement makes it look like the consumers will get 100% refunds for their pre-order commitments. The tech-news site TechCrunch has reached out to the startup company for answers but we will update this article if and when the camera maker responds.
The sudden shutdown of this high-profile startup is not going to make it simpler for hardware startups to overthrow backers and early adopters online. But, it does appear that in this case, the company decided to sacrifice the capital of the investor to issue complete refunds to customers, that will clearly appease the disappoint of backers.