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Lily self-flying camera drone earned $34M in pre-orders, says CEO

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January 8
10:57 PM 2016

Lily Robotics CEO and co-founder Antoine Balaresque revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016 that the company's self-flying camera drone sale has earned $34 million (£23.2m,€31.3m) in pre-orders, through a campaign that began eight months ago.

The International Business Times reported that the start-up company raised in December 2015 about $15 million in a Series A round funding from the Winkelvoss twins, football legend Joe Montana, and Spark Capital. Though the company bagged the CES 2016 Innovation award, a working version of its Lily camera drone was not shown during the event.

According to Re/Code, Lily Camera is an autonomously driven flying camera for people who love photography. The camera has HD capabilities and is waterproof. It is a quadcopter that goes wherever the user goes through a tracking tool that the person is wearing. Imagine a flying GoPro that is responsive.

To launch the device, it should be tossed into the air like throwing a Frisbee. To make it land, the user has to extend their arms outward. The tracking tool allows the user to command the device to capture photos and record video. The user can even command it to take slow motion videos.

USA Today wrote that Balaresque, 24, co-founded Lily company in a University of California robotics lab basement. Along with Henry Bradlow, they worked on prototypes since 2013. They posted a video in YouTube and quickly captured the attention of the tech press. The video now has 10 million views. That's how they raised the $16 million funding.

In an interview, Balaresque said he was only expecting $100,000 to $200,000 pre-sales orders.  The $34 million is definitely more than he ever imagined, which thrilled him.

He said he was inspired by his mom, who always takes the family picture, leaving her out of it. This motivated him to invent a camera that would help include his mom in the picture. That simple concept is now worth $34 million and more.

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