Estonian battery developer Skeleton Technologies will boost production in Germany after raising 37.6 million euros ($42 million) in its latest financing round.
Skeleton has so far raised 200 million euros for its high-efficiency supercapacitors, energy storage devices that can be charged in a few seconds and recharged almost endlessly.
The latest fundraising attracted industrial peers and tech entrepreneurs, including Gylling Optima Batterie's Bengt Wahlqvist, EIT InnoEnergy, Nidoco and Wise Chairman Taavet Hinrikus.
"The key for us is going after scale-up," Skeleton CEO and co-founder Taavi Madiberk said in an interview in Tallinn. "We have commercial agreements in place of over north of 1 billion euros."
Skeleton plans to return to fund-raising within 18 months, with additional private financing as well as an initial public offering seen as possibilities, according to Madiberk.
The CEO declined to disclose his company's current valuation but Harju Elekter, an Estonian industrial group, said in a financial report last July that its 7.22 percent Skeleton stake was worth 18 million euros. This would have valued the entire company at 249 million euros.
"The R&D that they have been doing for a decade now has huge potential," Estonian billionaire Hinrikus, who invested in Skeleton through his Taavet+Sten partnership, told Bloomberg by phone.
"It is a rare chance to invest in an incredible company that is doing something important for the energy transition and doing that in a huge market."
The company plans to build a larger plant in near its existing site in Saxony and eventually produce 12 million cells a year after manufacturing begins in 2023. The pipeline includes customers such as Volkswagen Group's Skoda, Medcom Mitsubishi and the European Space Agency.
Supercapacitors are superior for uses that take up to 60 seconds, but do not store as much energy as cheaper lithium ion batteries used in electric vehicles. Skeleton is also working to combine the two types of batteries and develop a solid-state cell that includes a supercapacitor, which could be used in cars.
The Estonian provider of energy storage products for the automotive, industrial, renewable energy and electrical grid markets has gained capital from venture companies, the German government and the European Investment Bank, as it seeks to carve out a niche in the battery market dominated by Asian producers.
"For the European industry it's really encouraging that you have this wave of companies like Skeleton, Northvolt and others coming up," Madiberk said. "Three or four years ago, industry wisdom said this market will be dominated by Asian players."