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Drone Startup Lily Robotics Shuts Down

Things appeared to be going alright for drone startup Lily Robotics up until recently.

In December, reports suggested Snapchat was eyeing the drone startup as a possible acquisition as part of its search to build out its wearable camera, augmented reality and virtual reality application offerings. Lily was considered to help solve Snapchat’s selfie problem, with Snapchat trying to identify ways for consumers to take hands-free selfies. The drone startup said last month it was performing final calibration checks on its selfie-taking drone, which was due to ship in February.

Yesterday (Jan. 12), Lily Robotics sent an email to its customers saying it was shutting down after failing to secure the necessary funding to manufacture and ship its product.

In late 2015, Lily closed $14 million in funding from a number of investors including Spark Capital and Winklevoss Capital. The drone startup had recently been seeking an additional $15 million in funding to stay afloat.

“We have been racing against a clock of ever-diminishing funds,” founders and former UC Berkeley engineering students Antoine Balaresque and Henry Barlow wrote to their customers. “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.”

Lily began to take pre-orders for its drone back in May 2014. This time last year, Lily’s founders had said the company had received pre-orders for 60,000 units, totaling $34 million. Funding delays pushed the date to late 2016 and early 2017. All of Lily Robotics’ pre-order customers are expected to receive a full refund sometime within the next two weeks.

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