Image courtesy Skeleton Technologies
This week’s Smart Energy Finances looks at Skeleton Technologies’ €108 million funding round, with investors such as Siemens Financial Services and Marubeni Corporation, for supercapacitor manufacturing and development of new high-power battery technology, namely the SuperBattery.
Also on the radar are a $15 million Series A funding round in the US for autonomous inspection tech of power lines and utility assets, as well as an ‘innovative’ financing package for the Lakeside battery system in the UK, with backers such as Tesla leading the way.
SuperBattery & supercapacitor financing
Skeleton Technologies, which develops fast-charging energy storage for transportation, grid, automotive and industrial applications, has announced the closing of a €108 million ($114 million) funding round to develop next-generation tech, including new high-power battery technology.
The round brought in investors such as Siemens Financial Services (SFS), existing investor Marubeni Corporation, Brazilian mining giant CBMM – which made its inaugural investment in the company – and others.
Specifically, the financing will be used for the manufacturing expansion of supercapacitors and the company’s new battery tech, the SuperBattery.
Skeleton’s supercapacitors and SuperBattery are used in transport, grid, industrial, and automotive applications – particularly in the fields of heavy-duty electrification, electrified and hybrid vehicles, and grid energy storage.
Conglomerate Marubeni, which includes Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway as a significant shareholder, distributes Skeleton’s products in Asia and aids in acquiring customers for Skeleton’s SuperBattery in the region.
Commented Skeleton Technologies’ CEO and Co-Founder Taavi Madiberk on the SuperBattery funding round: “Securing an investment from one of Europe’s largest tech companies is a significant milestone for Skeleton. In addition to SFS’ investment, Siemens is also a key partner, supplier and customer.
“Their expertise in industrialisation and commercial partnerships will propel our growth and solidify our role in leading the energy transition.”
The companies have also partnered to automate and digitise Skeleton’s upcoming factory in Markranstädt, Germany, which will coordinate supercapacitor production. Siemens’ Manufacturing Operations Management System will be used to do so.
Skeleton Technologies also develops and produces a patented raw material called “Curved Graphene”, which the company states significantly improves battery performance while avoiding reliance on toxic metals.
Skeleton is also currently ramping up manufacturing of its supercapacitors’ product line with a new factory in Markranstädt in collaboration with Siemens, and developing its novel SuperBattery technology, slated for future mass production.
The new factory is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2024 and produce up to twelve million cells annually.
With the concluded financing round, Skeleton’s total funding exceeds €300 million ($316.7 million), ranking it among Europe’s top-financed deep tech firms.
Ellex Raidla acted as legal advisor and UBS as financial advisor to Skeleton.
$15 million for autonomous inspections
US-based software solutions developer Thread has raised $15 million in Series A funding to enhance its autonomous inspection capabilities.
The company, which develops an enterprise-scale autonomous data collection solution, is calling the successful funding round a move in “modernising the utilities industry via real-time asset performance management”, they state in a press release.
The round of funding is hoped to accelerate the company’s expansion across asset types and development of its UNITI platform, an Asset Performance Management (APM) platform for the energy and utilities industry.
The company, launched in 2018 as ‘Airtonomy’, touts its offering of automating data capture of utility assets via robotic inspection. This includes the realms of power lines (both transmission and distribution) as well as wind, oil and gas.
With its technology, Thread embeds unmanned aerial systems and robotics with a suite of applications to automate enterprise inspection and create an inspection-based digital asset catalogue.
Past clients include Xcel Energy and asset protection company MISTRAS Group.
Commented Josh Riedy, the company’s founder and CEO: “The ageing of the world’s critical infrastructure, disconnected workflow integrations between traditional software and shiny object vendors, and a depleting skilled workforce in Operations & Maintenance (O&M) continue to be major issues in data collection, which makes it increasingly difficult for stakeholders to make data-driven decisions.
“This Series A funding allows us to better service our customer’s needs by bridging the gap between legacy one-off inspections and real-time asset performance data, bringing the industry into the digital age.”
The funding round was led by Badlands Capital with notable participation from an early utility partner of Thread’s, Minnkota Power Cooperative, Generational Partners, Rosecliff Ventures, Excell Partners, Homegrown Capital and Kevin O’Leary’s Wonder Fund North Dakota.
Also from Smart Energy Finances:
Funding for Capalo AI’s market optimisation platform
Series B funding for AI-powered grid analytics
TagEnergy secures landmark debt package for Lakeside BESS
UK-based TagEnergy has secured a landmark debt package to finance its next UK-based battery energy storage system (BESS) project under what they are calling an innovative financing model.
The financing comes courtesy of a non-recourse debt package of up to £70 million ($85 million) from lenders Santander, Rabobank, and Triple Point on a fully merchant basis (except for Capacity Market revenues).
The package will finance the construction and operation of TagEnergy’s Lakeside project, a 100MW/200MWh facility in North Yorkshire, England, and includes an uncommitted accordion facility with a view to incorporating further assets into the funding structure.
With financial close, TagEnergy announced Tesla, Habitat Energy and RES as project partners.
Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor Tesla will provide a system of Tesla Megapack 2XL lithium-ion batteries. Habitat Energy partners as route to market and battery optimiser, while independent renewable energy company RES has been engaged as asset manager.
Construction commenced on the Lakeside project in August 2023 with the energy park due to go live by mid-2024.
TagEnergy acquired its 100% stake in the facility – then its fifth investment in the UK – from RES in December 2021.
Commented Franck Woitiez, chief executive officer of TagEnergy: “Securing a single non-recourse debt package without a revenue floor is testament to the value our innovative approach to financing offers the market. We’re excited to now move to the next stage of the project to accelerate the energy transition.”
The debt was arranged by IDCM as financial advisor, with TLT serving as borrower legal advisor, Burges Salmon as lender legal advisor, Aurora Energy Research as energy analytics provider, Everoze as technical advisor, WTW as insurance advisor, Ester as hedge advisor and RSM as the model auditor.
SuperBatteries, supercapacitors and innovative financing models – if there’s anything that can be said about energy tech and its funding, its that there’s always something new to write about!
But what do you think? Is there anything you think should be on my radar? Let me know. And follow Smart Energy Finances for the latest in finance and investment news coming from the energy sector.
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