UAE’s Shuaa Capital invest in SkyCell; Swiss manufacturer raises $35M

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SkyCell, the Swiss pharma-tech company has secured $34.8 million (CHF 32 million) in Series C funding. The round - a combination of equity and debt financing – included DisruptAD (the venture capital arm of Abu Dhabi-based sovereign wealth fund ADQ), SHUAA Capital psc (the UAE’s publicly-listed asset management and investment banking firm) and China-based and Zurich-based family offices with strategically important networks. Existing investor Mobiliar, the oldest private insurance company in Switzerland, also participated with follow-on funding.

Founded in Switzerland in 2012, SkyCell designs and manufactures smart containers that allow pharmaceutical companies to predict, reduce, and control the risks associated with transporting temperature-sensitive drugs. 

Speaking about the significance of the new investment, Richard Ettl, co-founder and CEO of SkyCell, said, “Over the past 18 months, the Covid-19 pandemic has put unprecedented pressure on the global pharmaceutical supply chain and pharma companies to secure non-Covid supply lines and protect their temperature-sensitive and high-value cargo. 

SkyCell’s goal for this round of financing was to diversify its investor base and gain further access to the Middle and Far East regions, to extend our reach, and support the growth of our client network. We are delighted to have found fantastic long-term partners in both regions. DisruptAD, ADQ’s venture platform, will provide an unparalleled access into its local and international portfolio. With two-thirds of the world’s human footprint - including much of the developing global South - within a four-hour flight time, Abu Dhabi is of strategic significance for the global pharma supply chain and for us. Additionally, SHUAA Capital, the UAE-based asset management and investment banking firm, and a China-based family office with strategically important ties to the logistics industry, will further bolster our client acquisition campaigns.

The funding will enable us to grow our sales teams and convert our growing pipeline of global pharmaceutical and biotech clients. Additionally, we will be able to further improve the experience we offer our clients, further differentiate our hardware and SaaS offerings based on their needs and become their distribution solution of choice for cold chain. Finally, this funding allows our business to continue to make strategic investments and drive innovative product developments, to ensure that we can continuously offer our clients the world’s most advanced hardware fleet, software solutions, and worldwide operations and support. We are looking forward to cementing SkyCell at the heart of the global cold-chain flows and being internationally recognized as the industry’s innovation leader.”

The funding round follows a year of significant growth for SkyCell, with revenue up 60 per cent year-on-year in 2020/21. The need to respond to changing industry demands also drove rapid product innovation: by adding to its range a container capable of transporting pharma products requiring deep-frozen transit (including BioNTech and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines, among others) by maintaining an internal temperature of -80°C, SkyCell can offer containers meeting every temperature requirement. SkyCell has also launched a SaaS solution, SECURE, that provides pharma companies with end-to-end oversight of every shipment around the world and an automated approval capability that reduces quality approval time to just minutes.

Jassim Alseddiqi, group chief executive officer of SHUAA Capital, said, “At SHUAA, we invest in pioneering and innovative companies, especially in vital sectors that have a significant impact on society, and that at the same time generate meaningful returns for our shareholders. SkyCell is one such business, using technology to transform the pharmaceutical supply chain, and we are excited about its growth potential in the coming years, given the importance of its role in designing and manufacturing advanced and safe drug containers.”

Globaleye Capital acted as exclusive financing coordinator for this Series C. Jean-Marc Le Calvez, managing partner at Globaleye Capital, said, “We are thrilled to have partnered with SkyCell. Our teamwork resulted in the onboarding of new strategic investors, each of which will play an essential role in SkyCell’s future - becoming the partner of choice for global cold-chain pharma.”

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