The Mota Group, the company responsible for bringing the Lily drone back from the dead, appears to have undergone its own resurrection after a brief absence. There has been a name change and a move up the road from San Jose to Santa Clara, California, but the staff remains the same – as does the business model of buying, rebranding and selling Chinese drones.
The Vanishing Act
A few months ago the Mota Group’s website and social media channels abruptly shut down or went dormant. By that point, we had already published articles detailing how disappointed customers were being mistreated. Since the turn of the year, we have been contacted by almost 30 readers from around the world who are owed either a refund or a drone by the Mota Group.
These customers have all had support tickets ignored, phone calls disconnected and emails left unresponded.
All of the out-of-pocket customers we have heard from are owed at least $600. To make matters worse, many were backers of the original Lily Project, which collapsed under the weight of expectation and over-promises back in 2017.
After purchasing the failed project’s branding rights and customer list, the Mota Group systematically approached customers who had already been let down and offered them hefty discounts on the new Lily Next-Gen. The Mota Group incentivized sales with the promise of share options ahead of the company’s planned initial public offering – a move which didn’t come to pass after the SEC stepped in.
Back From the Dead
Today we received a press release from a new company Drones By US (DBUS). The staff are the same as the Mota Group, the base is just down the road from the previous one and, importantly, the connection with Chinese manufacturer High Great remains in place.
Given that several former Mota employees have started a new, apparently identical venture to the previous one that let down customers so badly, we are sure you can appreciate both our scepticism and our reluctance to spread the good news.
We have asked the team from Drones By US whether Mota Group customers can expect to receive refunds or drones now that the company is essentially back in business. In a move entirely in keeping with the Mota Group’s track record, nobody from Drones By Us has responded to our request for comment.
They have however responded to one of our readers, claiming that, “We are a brand new, completely separate company. We are not affiliated with the former company in any way.”
Given that the staff roster is identical to the Mota Group, that the company location is essentially the same, that the link with the same Chinese supplier is intact, and that Drones By US still claims to be a member of the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team, we find any claim about a lack of affiliation very hard to swallow.
We would like to publish information about the drone DBUS is bringing to market, but don’t feel comfortable doing so until the affiliation with the Mota Group is clarified.