Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses

The Flying Lily Camera Drone is Dead, Buyers Will Be Refunded (mashable.com) 88

The Lily Camera drone, which could begin recording as soon as you threw it into the air and would follow your movements automatically, has failed to materialize. The startup, which took pre-orders worth more than $34 million for its drone camera said Thursday they are shutting down the company and will issue refunds. From a report: The Lily company faced "many ups and downs" last year, the company said, adding that they couldn't secure financing for manufacturing and shipping the first batch of units. The Lily cameras were originally started to begin shipping in February 2016, but the co-founders said "software issues" resulted in a delay in the shipment. Later in October, the team gave people another chance to purchase the device, adding that stores will re-open in 2017. As of last month, the company hadn't shipped a single unit.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Flying Lily Camera Drone is Dead, Buyers Will Be Refunded

Comments Filter:
  • get a startup going with a clever idea, use a GoFundMe or some sort of Kickstarter financing website to collect funds for my clever idea project, dont build anything and collect millions of dollars, after the money sits in a bank for a while make a press release that the project failed and investors have to send a self-addressed stamped envelope for a refund, send all those that send a SASE a refund, keep the rest of the money plus the interest it made while sitting in the bank which could be many thousands
    • by Holi ( 250190 ) on Thursday January 12, 2017 @11:23AM (#53654067)
      Next time you have an idea to defraud people, you probably shouldn't post it on a public forum. Just pm it to me and I'll let you know how effective it was.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, good luck getting any interest that matters from a bank account with less than a billion dollars. Try this in some parts of the world and you'll actually lose money.

    • And send all the refunds in the form of checks from a company with a really suggestive offensive name and see if anyone dares cash it:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

      (might not be appropriate for workplace viewing - clip from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels)

  • Despite them not succeeding, you have to give them credit for at least refunding folks compared to other epic failures on Kickstarter. In the last year, we've also seen the number of consumer drones skyrocket leading to more "accidents" so maybe the market is starting to saturate.

    • by David_Hart ( 1184661 ) on Thursday January 12, 2017 @11:35AM (#53654143)

      Despite them not succeeding, you have to give them credit for at least refunding folks compared to other epic failures on Kickstarter. In the last year, we've also seen the number of consumer drones skyrocket leading to more "accidents" so maybe the market is starting to saturate.

      This is why, in my opinion, Kickstarter, et al., should be investment based (i.e. shares). At least then you could write off losses due to failure on your tax return. What they could do is issue you shares and then provide an option to turn in those shares for the product when it ships or keep them in case the company succeeds. Of course, doing it this way would incur all kinds of legal costs, force them to make the books public, and complicate things. Which is probably why they don't do it.

      • Recent regulation was changed to allow for "crowdfunding" startups this way, where you can actually get shares of the business this way. I haven't heard of anyone doing this yet, though I understand the option is legally available now.

        • by kbonin ( 58917 )

          All the constraints the SEC put on it preclude it from being of much use - https://www.sec.gov/info/small... [sec.gov]

          • by TWX ( 665546 )
            Given that the plot for Mel Brooks' The Producers essentially revolves around this sort of thing and that Brooks and company didn't originally invent the idea themselves, I'm not exactly surprised that it's difficult to set up schemes with small-time investment. Even if everyone is above-board there are too many risks, and it would be prime grounds for dishonest people to defraud those who are least financially able to fight back against it.
        • I think Sondors might be following this model for their e-car startup:

          https://www.startengine.com/st... [startengine.com]

          The founder has basically declared that his idea, name and expertise is worth $36M and he's asking the world to please give him an initial round of $1M cash to start development, in exchange for shares.

      • Only the rich are allowed to do private investments outside of the stockmarket, peons not allowed.

    • Despite them not succeeding, you have to give them credit for at least refunding folks

      Once they have actually refunded folks, they can have credit for it. So far they've just taken some people's names, and said they would refund them.

  • I've had it with these "Revolutionary" companies & their vaporware.

    • This is why people should be very wary of crowdfunding because so many of the crowdfund campaigns are exactly that. So much bullshit. There's quite a few legit companies that do get started this way but enough failures that people shouldn't be backing projects as carelessly as they do.

      • by arth1 ( 260657 )

        One of the problems is that people believe they are buying stuff, placing an advance order due at order time. What they do is backing an idea that may or may not pan out. Many of us are fine with that concept, but some have a hard time accepting it.

        It could have turned out better (good product), or it could have turned out worse (no refunds). Contributing should imply that you are aware of and truly accept all those eventualities.

        • I'm on board with that just as soon as money for a forensic accountant is sequestered from the initial funding in case it fails. With Kickstarter taking on partial liability and prosecute on our behalf if the accountant finds malfeasance on a failed project. Until that time the only way to play it is to see kickstarting as entering into a contract to deliver a product, so there is at least some stick to beat them with if they are scammers.

          To treat project starters as you suggest in the current system is she

          • by arth1 ( 260657 )

            To treat project starters as you suggest in the current system is sheer madness and an invitation to scammers.

            So? Let the scammers come. Do a little research before you donate, so you don't give to scammers.
            If they do anything illegal, the law is the right venue.

      • my GF and I were wary but split the early preorder price of $500 to get in on this. we were just barely willing to lose 250 each if they bailed on the project.

        considering the last update we had was an address confirmation and a blurb that they planned to ship december 2016/jan 2017 we were hopefuly that wed have a unit in this week or next, not a cancellation email :-/

    • by thomn8r ( 635504 )
      Like Theranos? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
  • Too long, too late (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Holi ( 250190 ) on Thursday January 12, 2017 @11:21AM (#53654053)
    Probably didn't help that many drones appeared on the market in the past year with the same capabilities. I can walk into a Best Buy and buy a drone that can follow and film me today.
  • "they couldn't secure financing for manufacturing and shipping the first batch of units"

    If only we had a way to provide funding for products? We could set up websites that enabled people to post commercially unviable ideas, collect sales in advance, and then bullshit for two years about why they haven't shipped, promised features have been removed, etc.

    • Re:lolz (Score:4, Insightful)

      by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Thursday January 12, 2017 @11:45AM (#53654221) Journal
      So what exactly did they do with the $34 million dollars? That seems like a substantial amount of funding just to ship a first round of a basic electronics product.
      • So what exactly did they do with the $34 million dollars?

        If they're actually refunding people, then they still have the money, and the answer is "fuck all".

        If people don't actually get their refunds, the answer lies somewhere betweeen "aeron chairs" and "hookers and blow".

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        So what exactly did they do with the $34 million dollars? That seems like a substantial amount of funding just to ship a first round of a basic electronics product.

        Well first of all it said $34 million worth of preorders, doesn't mean they made a full deposit like say for the Tesla Model 3 there's a $1000 depoit for a $35000 car. And even so it's not a Kickstarter, they're not supposed to use this for R&D and say whoops sorry, we used up the money but it didn't work out. They probably took preorders to gauge interest and get investors, for whatever reason it didn't work out - that they couldn't get funding is a red herring, if you got a product and customer ready

  • Nice scam, man
  • Oh please (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Thursday January 12, 2017 @11:41AM (#53654181)

    "The startup, which took pre-orders worth more than $34 million..."

    FFS, you had $34 million dollars in your pocket and couldn't ship one fucking product?

    They should rename themselves, "Hopeless Lamers Inc" and their company motto should be, "We Can't Do Shit".

    • FFS, you had $34 million dollars in your pocket and couldn't ship one fucking product?

      They could either arrive late with a crappy product or give people (some?) money back so they could just buy a Mavic like everyone else. Which would you choose?

      • They could either arrive late with a crappy product or give people (some?) money back so they could just buy a Mavic like everyone else. Which would you choose?

        For starters I'd choose not to plow my money into anything they ever did again.

        Bottom line: Give me $34 million dollars and I'll ship a working product. FFS, they could have bought COTS gear and added their own special sauce to make it work.

        I don't know the first fucking thing about making a drone that follows you around but give me $34 million dollars and I could fucking well make it happen. This is NOT a $34 million dollar problem; this is maybe a $1 million dollar problem, and that includes the hookers a

        • Bottom line: Give me $34 million dollars and I'll ship a working product. FFS, they could have bought COTS gear and added their own special sauce to make it work.

          I don't know the first fucking thing about making a drone that follows you around but give me $34 million dollars and I could fucking well make it happen. This is NOT a $34 million dollar problem; this is maybe a $1 million dollar problem, and that includes the hookers and blow.

          The bottom line is it's not a problem of designing a $34 million quadcopter. It's a problem of designing a quadcopter and then manufacturing and fulfilling $34 million worth of orders.

          • The bottom line is it's not a problem of designing a $34 million quadcopter. It's a problem of designing a quadcopter and then manufacturing and fulfilling $34 million worth of orders.

            Bottom line: Give me $34 million dollars and I'll design, manufacture, and fulfill $34 million worth of "follow-me" quadcopter orders. And I'll do it in less than a year with a price of about $400 per quadcopter instead of $800.
             

    • by Ogive17 ( 691899 )
      Did they actually get the full money from the pre-order?

      Occasionally I will pre-order a game, depending on the service I am sometimes not charged until the product actually ships. I've seen other areas where you only put a deposit down on the pre-order and pay the balance when it ships.

      Pre-orders can sometimes just be a reservation. The company could have tried using the pre-order figure to help get someone to make the product. Maybe the manufacturers/other investors did not trust their figures.
      • Did they actually get the full money from the pre-order?

        I don't know, but the headline said "...Buyers Will Be Refunded" and the story stated, "they are shutting down the company and will issue refunds", so I'm thinking they took the money upfront.

        It sounds like a colossal clusterfuck of epic proportions. I mean, this thing is a fucking toy, it doesn't have to fly to space, survive reentry, or work under battlefield conditions. It's a fucking plastic drone that follows you around.

        It was supposed to cost $799. Tell ya what- you give me just $20 million dollars in

    • Re:Oh please (Score:4, Informative)

      by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <fairwater@@@gmail...com> on Thursday January 12, 2017 @01:51PM (#53655213) Homepage

      FFS, you had $34 million dollars in your pocket and couldn't ship one fucking product?

      IIRC there are legal limits on when you take that money out of (what is essentially) escrow. That is, the $34 million wasn't actually in their pocket and they (legally) couldn't put it in their pocket until they had a product to ship. That's one of the reasons why Kickstarter brands products to be delivered in the future as 'rewards' rather than 'pre-orders'. (Which doesn't stop people from seeing or using those rewards as pre-orders though.)

      • But you can get financing on the basis of the income stream you can show you are going to have on the basis of the pre-orders.

        • But you can get financing on the basis of the income stream you can show you are going to have on the basis of the pre-orders.

          And if you can convince prospective lenders you can actually produce them at a cost where you'll have sufficient profit to repay them when you do receive the income. And convince the lenders that you're competent enough to do so. Etc... etc...

          • Which underscores the point that the problem wasn't a lack of financing per se but a lack of a business case.

  • What was their R&D procedure?

    Build a model, then a week of hookers and blow?

    Fuck!

  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Thursday January 12, 2017 @12:43PM (#53654655) Homepage

    The Lily company faced "many ups and downs" last year

    Well... you'd hope so, really, when you're developing a drone.

  • Thank you for being a friend
    Traveled down the road and back again
    Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

    And if you threw a party
    Invited everyone you ever knew
    You would see the biggest gift would be from me
    And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

  • 34 million... couldn't find money...
  • Like so many of the kickstarters that blow up like this, they cannot scale at the price point they've set. When you a set a price you have to consider all of the R&D, Production Startup, Import and still leave room in for delays. Many times it's better to just make a few boutique items for people who really want your product, than to price it for the masses and it quickly becomes unrealistic. There's a reason drones of this type were quite a bit more expensive than the lily (especially the early backer
  • I almost bought into this. Sounded like just the tool to record form and technique for later analysis without the need to have someone film you -- and from a higher POV.

    My instinct said "Wail until shipment." Glad I listened.

    • I *tried* to buy into this, but their lame web site didn't let me. I inquired via their "contact me" link, and got nothing in return. Given those two bad signs, I gave up.

      If you are a technology company that can't build a web site and can't monitor an email address, your inability to ship a product is hardly surprising.

  • It kills me. There are so many vaporware projects out there that banked entirely on peoples' lack of understanding of where tech has advanced and where they hope it will be tomorrow.

    When I saw the advertisement for this drone, my immediate thought was, "No. They don't have something that can do that. And they won't deliver something that can do that in a year." I'm not a pessimist. I just understand, like most Slashadotters, what is possible today vs. what is possible with Google's money vs. what is pos
  • I doubt they can do full refund since they operated one year without earning a single dollar.

"Luke, I'm yer father, eh. Come over to the dark side, you hoser." -- Dave Thomas, "Strange Brew"

Working...