Malaysia’s FirstFloor Capital leads US$14mil investment into Estonian tech firm
By Digital News Asia August 4, 2016
- Funds to help it move higher up value chain with turnkey energy storage solutions
- Success in Europe, now eyeing emerging markets of Asia especially South-East Asia
ESTONIAN ultracapacitor (pic) manufacturer Skeleton Technologies said it has received €13 million (about US$14 million) in new investment in a round led by FirstFloor Capital, a Malaysian venture capital investment firm specialising in high-growth technology companies.
The Series C investment, which also includes existing Skeleton Technologies’ investors UP Invest and Harju Elekter, brings total financing to €26.7 million (US$29.4 million) and will support its next phase of revenue ramp-up to bring graphene ultracapacitors from high-end sectors to the mass market.
The company will also use the new funds to move “higher up the value chain with turnkey energy storage solutions,” it said in a statement.
“We believe Skeleton Technologies has great potential to not only transform the international ultracapacitor market through its patented curved graphene power cells but also to become a turnkey energy storage system specialist,” said FirstFloor Capital principal and executive director Fahmi Hamzah.
“Expanding its automated Estonian operations earlier this year and announcing that its German facility near Dresden will be at scale in start of 2017 shows the company is steadfastly moving towards this goal,” he added.
Ultracapacitors are high-power energy storage devices with more than 100 times increased power density across more than a million life-cycles, compared to the best battery technologies.
Skeleton Technologies claimed its devices are the only ultracapacitors to use a patented graphene-based material in their manufacture, allowing them to deliver twice the energy density and five times the power density of their competitors.
“We’ve gone from signing our first key customer in 2011 – for sending graphene ultracapacitors into orbit with the European Space Agency – to last financial year when our focus switched from supplying solutions purely to high-end sectors to the transportation, grid and industrial equipment markets,” said Skeleton Technologies chief executive officer Taavi Madiberk.
“Now the strategic goal is leveraging our competitive advantage by moving from a component supplier to system solution provider, creating a realistic pathway to become a dominant player in the ultrapacitor market.
“We see FirstFloor Capital’s investment as a breakthrough moment for our company, marking an expansion beyond Europe and into the emerging markets of Asia – we especially see South-East Asia as a key growth region that has been undervalued by the market so far,” he added.
Skeleton Technologies, a Global Cleantech 100 company, will also use the FirstFloor Capital investment to further optimise electrode and cell design to allow for higher capacitance and working voltages.
These developments will unlock the full performance capabilities of the company’s unique graphene-based material, known as carbide-derived carbon, it said.
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