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Formerly hot drone startup Lily forced to shut down, return $34M pre-order funds

It is hard living in DJI’s world if you’re a drone maker. We’ve already seen the dominant Chinese company’s impact on the industry with the pivot of 3D Robotics from drone manufacturer to drone software provider, the layoff of a third of Parrot’s staff, and the long delays and eventual recall (due to technical problems) of GoPro’s Karma.

Now comes news, via TechCrunch, that Lily, once a darling of the drone world thanks to its autonomous flying camera system–which helped it score $34 million in pre-orders as well as $14 million in VC funding, is throwing in the towel, unable to raise enough to fund production, and refunding all those customers’ money . All of this is just further proof that it’s going to be harder and harder for anyone to take on DJI, which has consolidated its industry lead by producing powerful, feature-packed drones at reasonable prices and across many categories, from purely consumer-oriented to professional.  DT