GoPro competitor Lily – the drone making startup – officially shut down after it realized that it would not be able to produce the autonomous flying camera that it promised the buyers for over a year. However, the legal battle over it all started has turned more interesting now, notes BGR.

Drone-Centric City GoPro
Photo by Harald_Landsrath (Pixabay)

Lily drone never really existed

The drone startup was doomed from the start, alleged a lawsuit filed in California. The drone maker, which is dead now, continued to mislead customers for months while simultaneously using footage from GoPro’s hardware to try to show the magical capabilities of non-existent drone, alleges the lawsuit.

According to the report by Recode, the lawsuit was filed by the office of the San Francisco District Attorney, and has been in the works way before Lily publicly declared that it is winding up. The main issue how Lily rose to such viral fame is that the Lily drone never actually existed. Still, the drone maker was able to make around $30 million in pre-orders.

Lily CEO Antoine Balaresque pondered the notion of lying to the customers in the emails, which were released as part of the lawsuit. “I am worried that a lens geek could study our images up close and detect the unique GoPro lens footprint. But I am just speculating here: I don’t know much about lenses but I think we should be extremely careful if we decide to lie publicly,” he says in the emails.

Promo shot using a GoPro camera

Lily, who was founded in mid-2015, came up with a promotional video of a camera drone that surprised many. The footage shown in the popular Lily video, in reality, was shot using a GoPro camera and a DJI drone. Though the company claims the footage was shot on a Lily prototype, the suit alleges that it simply would not have been possible since “Lily Robotics didn’t have a single Lily Camera prototype that had all the features advertised.”

But, on January 12 it announced that it was shutting down even before shipping a single device. In a blog post, founders Antoine Balaresque and Henry Bradlow wrote that they tried to secure financing over the past few months to unlock their manufacturing line and ship their first units, but they have been unable to do this. And, as a result, they are deeply saddened to say that they are planning to wind down the company and provide refund to the customers.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, Recode says Lily has been in the process of closing down for several weeks, and employees were notified several weeks ago.