What the Tech? Failed kickstarters
Drones that never got off the ground cost thousands of supporters thousands of dollars.
Supporters of an IndieGoGo project learned this week the company they invested in, has closed shop. Its page on IndieGoGo says it is now under review by the IndieGoGo company.
Developers of "The Lily Drone" promised an autonomous pocket-sized drone that would fly and record video after you tossed it into the air. The drone was also capable of following you without any controls. It was a big hit on the IndieGoGo website and the developers raised $34 million from investors and supporters.
But on January 12th the developer posted an update to the project page saying "The Adventure Comes to an End". The post, written by founders Antoine and Henry explained that they were running out of funds and had recently sought more financing in order to ship the first units.
Additional financing, according to the post was not successful and they are "deeply saddened to say that we are planning to wind down the company and offer refunds to customers."
Supporters of the camera drone paid $500 to help get the product into production and eventually to market. Later supporters paid $900. Many of those supporters wonder if they'll ever receive their initial investment refunded though the company asks those supporters to contact them directly.
The Lily Drone isn't the first drone to hit Kickstarter and IndieGoGo with great promise. The Zano drone launched in 2013 and received over $3 million from Kickstarter supporters. The micro camera drone was promoted as a gadget that would follow you without the need of a controller. It was nominated as The Best of CES Awards in 2014 which is where I first saw it and spoke with the company's founder and drone inventor.
He showed me a prototype and again, said things were moving along to get the drone into production.
Some supporters received their drones but reported they either didn't fly or did not fly very well. In 2015 the company went out of business.
Kickstarter hired a freelance reporter to find out what happened to the Zano drone, you can read that report here: https://medium.com/kickstarter/how-zano-raised-millions-on-kickstarter-and-left-backers-with-ne arly-nothing-85c0abe4a6cb#.klx7bn92f
A lawsuit has been filed in the case of the Lily Drone from supporters who claim the promotional video that was posted was fake.
Remember, you are not purchasing an item from Kickstarter or IndieGoGo projects that have not come to market; you are investing in a company and investments always carry some risk.