Editorial Opinion: 2016 will be the year of the “dot drone” bust as many of the dreamers and schemers succumb to the Reality of Gravity. We’ve already seen the complete failure of Zano Drone, the largest Kickstarter funded drone project (3 million dollars). Other multi-million dollar efforts are also having trouble delivering – Plexi-Drone is another overhyped company unlikely to deliver even a single drone. Lilly (camera drone) just announced a delay until at least the middle of 2016. The GoPro drone (named Karma) may very well be too little and too late as the market has shaved off 75% of the value of GoPro (from 90 per share to as low as 16).
Venture Capitalists (VC’s), however, are still throwing money at Drone companies – a chancy proposition in our opinion. We’ll write more on that later…
It is our view that the largest VC funded Consumer Drone company will soon fall back to earth after a wild ride on the back of 100 million dollars of other people’s money. This company, 3D Robotics, started 2015 with an unprecedented marketing and PR push including the following claims and statements:
“World’s First Smart Drone”
“Anyone not running Linux (3DR operating system) on board next year will be seen as a toy”
“…then we, not DJI, will control the market”
“The world is about to know who 3DR is.”
“3DR Solo does 175 things better than any other consumer Drone”
This is the best consumer ‘copter ever made”
“we think it’s probably the best commercial ‘copter ever made.”
“Gives you Superhuman powers for $1,000”
“(We’ll sell) a lot – I’d like to sell 100,000 units (in the first calendar year)”
While some of these are marketing hype, others are simply untrue – as one example, the Solo with camera and gimbal is $1600+ so it’s not a superhuman 1K drone. Others seem to be optimistic predictions which have not come to pass.
A former hobbyist supplier to DIY drone builders, 3DR decided to shoot for the moon and gathered over 100 million dollars in Venture Capital with the idea of becoming #1 or #2 (after industry leader DJI) in the consumer drone space. Now – a few years after accepting their first Venture Capital, it appears the would-be David may have been slayed by Goliath – or, more accurately, by falling on their own sword.