First a little background on the Lily drone. Back in 2015, the Lily was launched on Kickstarter as the world’s first, waterproof, ultraportable, throw-and-shoot camera, that would provide professional cinematic video footage. The Lily was an instant success, totaling a massive $34 million dollars in pre-sales from around 60,000 customers as well as a $15 million in private funding. Then in the beginning of 2017 things came to an abrupt end. Lily’s co-founders Antoine and Henry sent out a letter “The Adventure Comes to an End“, announcing that they will shut down the company.
They said that they’ve spent the past year:
racing against a clock of ever-diminishing funds.
Obviously launching a drone company and delivering a high-tech product to consumers is no simple task. Fast forward to June 2017, when the company got successfully auctioned off for $750,000. LR Acquisition acquired all of Lily’s patents, technology know-how and around 70 prototypes of the Lily drone for $450,000. Mota, a drone company, based in San Jose bought Lily’s branding rights, including the trademark and the list of customers for $300,000.
The Lily drone is back
Now the Lily drone is coming back to life. The Mota group has relaunched the Next-Gen Lily drone as; Camera, Drone. Reinvented. It is priced at $499 for the launch. The final retail price will be $799 and it should be shipping before the end of this month. The new Lily sports better optics: 4k @ 60fps, 120fps slo-mo @ 720p and a 13 MP sensor. It is also significantly lighter than the original. It has a very different design with folding arms (GoPro Karma anyone?). And some other features such as; two external batteries, less flight time (18 minutes instead of 20 minutes), One-Touch, Smart Hover, geofencing, Quick Charge and EIS (electronic image stabilization). So it is clearly a step up from the old one, isn’t it?
So it is clearly a step up from the old one, isn’t it? Well, that is the million dollar question. Is the new Lily really better? A little research online indicates that a big reason for the success of the old Lily was the fact that it was waterproof and that it would float. People saw this as a big safety feature, as well as a way to get drone footage of themselves doing watersports. Think of videos of people wakeboarding, surfing, and kayaking. So, yes technically the next-gen Lily drone is a lot better than the original, but it will be interesting to see how important the waterproof and floating capabilities were in the customer’s purchase decisions.
In response to this, Mota commented to DroningOn, that:
For Lily Next-Gen, we gathered a user survey between creating a waterproof or less cost and most majority of users chose less expensive. The waterproof creates major restrictions such as significantly heavier, and reduced battery , so altogether it is not waterproof but it is a really good drone with up to 36 minutes (2×18 minutes) batteries, carrying case and 16GB memory with 2017 technology
But it is cheap!
So, it seems that the $499 price is Lily’s main (temporary) competitive advantage. Is that enough to stay afloat (pun intended)? Well, that remains to be seen because the drone market is very competitive and it seems that the new Lily may have a hard time competing against existing drones, such as the DJI Spark and new Mavic Pro Platinum. True, the Spark doesn’t offer 4k (yet) but competes on price (actually it is cheaper after the Lily introduction price ends) and offers many other features. The Mavic is more expensive than the Lily, but it may give you arguably more drone for the money. I wouldn’t hold my breath.
What do you think? Please let us know in the comments below if you think that the next-gen Lily from Mota stands a chance in this hyper competitive market.