Yesterday, Google killed its Titan Aero-based drone program, and now the crowd-funded Lily camera drone has shut down.
The two are unrelated, but we're beginning to wonder if the drone market is consolidating or simply dying. It's too early to tell, of course, but two companies in two days could signal an industry downturn. On Thursday, after raising more than $34 million in pre-orders from 60,000 customers, the company behind Lily announced it still didn't have the finances to do full-scale production.
Lily founders Antoine Balaresque and Henry Bradlow posted a blog, called The Adventure Comes to an End, to reassure customers that they would refund everyone: “We have been racing against a clock of ever-diminishing funds,” they said. “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.
They continued: "As a result, we are deeply saddened to say that we are planning to wind down the company and offer refunds to customers.” Customers will get their refunds over the next 60 days, but they’ll need to fill out a form if they want the funds returned to a different card that wasn't used to preorder the $499 Lily, which was supposed to be autonomous, waterproof, and offer battery life of up to 20 minutes.
Keep in mind Lily and Titan aren't the only drone projects to be shuttered. Zano is known as one of Europe’s biggest Kickstarter failures, and even Parrot, a major player in the commercial drone space, recently announced it is cutting a third of its drone staff.