Lily Drone: designed to crash
In 2015, Lily, a drone aimed for the general public and priced at $499, generated over $34 million in advance sales. Lily’s huge popularity was due to its unmatched capabilities: once the drone took off, it followed its operator everywhere.
Back at the head office, the design phase was losing altitude. Delays piled up, and a commercially viable prototype never made it into production. The company finally shut down the project, and Lily jettisoned the 61,000 trusting customers who had not hesitated to purchase their ‘high-performance’ drone.
The Fail :
Because no actual prototype existed at the time the product went into advance sale, its popularity was primarily based on promotional video of the drone in action that was viewed 12 million times. The president of Lily was later to reveal that in fact, those images were taken by a GoPro camera attached to a prototype.
Lily was nothing more than a concept and not a single drone ordered was ever produced or shipped.
The Moral :
Today’s start-ups must often create a buzz around their product or service before it actually exists if they want to attract potential investors and customers. The people who pre-ordered Lily most likely thought that they were acting as consumers, while in fact, they were injecting their money directly into the company.
A word to the wise: learn the difference between a purchase and an investment, and in that case, be aware that you’re taking a risk!
Source image : Lily