Swiss BioNTech/Pfizer smart transportation maker SkyCell stores $35 million

Maker of pharmaceutical-grade smart containers and a supply chain SaaS, SkyCell has raised $35 million in a Series C round. The new funding is expected to help the company continue company growth, and perhaps more importantly, with investments from DisruptAD, SHUAA Capital, and China and Swiss-based family offices, helps to solidify the company’s position in the Middle and Far East markets.

The SkyCell solution is rather elegant. They design and produce IoT-connected containers that make for pharma companies to predict, reduce, and have a better grasp on the risks inherent with transporting temperature-sensitive drugs. With nearly one billion data points spread across carriers, handlers, airports, outside temperatures, locations, and transit times, SkyCell delivers (an independently audited) failure rate of less than 0.1%. This flies directly in the face of an industry-standard acceptance failure rate of 4 to 12%.

Founded in 2012, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that that little thing we’ve all been living under for the past 19 or so months has seen the demand for safe, secure, and traceable temperature-controlled freight solutions skyrocket. Particularly in the pharmaceutical industry.

Now if you’re like me, the first thing that springs to mind is that certain vaccine that needs to remain at a certain temperature until just before administration. Yes, I’m talking about the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, and yes, SkyCell was/is capable of maintaining this critical temperature (-80 degrees C) through the entire transportation process.

To this end, the company has seen revenues skyrocket 60 percent year-over-year from 2020 to 2021, and has launched a SaaS service, SECURE, that offers pharmaceutical companies the ability to have oversight of every phase of the logistics process.

To support this growth, the SkyCell has increased the human capital by 45 percent since their venture round in April of 2020, and increased on-the-ground presence in service centres located in San Francisco, Philadelphia, Seoul, Rome, Toronto, Tokyo, Seoul, and Ireland. And if that wasn’t enough, new deals have been struck with airlines Qatar, Saudia Cargo, KLM Airfrance Martinair Cargo, Korean Air, LOT, Virgin Atlantic, JAL, and All Nippon Airways, as well as logistics partners such as DB Schenker and DSV.

On the new investment SkyCell founder and CEO Richard Ettl comments, “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. We are delighted to have found fantastic long-term partners in both regions. DisruptAD, ADQ’s venture platform, will provide unparalleled access to 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.”

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