The CEO of Skeleton Technologies, Taavi Madiberk, may only be 32 years old but is already a veteran in the world of Estonian business and administration. His ultracapacitor company is growing swiftly in an industry with a bright future and could drastically improve life for people across the world.
Born in Estonia in 1990, still part of the Soviet Union, Taavi Madiberk was brought up in a home where the father was a scientist working on ultracapacitor technology. While in elementary school, Taavi became convinced about the technology’s potential and started dreaming about becoming an entrepreneur. Using the latest technology available, ultracapacitors are able to supply, save and store massive amounts of energy within a few seconds. The technology has many applications and are particularly common in the automotive and transport industries as well as in the energy sector, most prominently in wind turbines.
Taavi dropped out from Law School after realizing that Estonia was full of opportunities for young people as Estonia increasingly started taking advantage of its regained political freedom and the market economy. Taavi wasted no time and quickly built up Estonia’s largest NGO, an organization grouping together owners of residential properties, started an internet company building homepages and became the co-founder of an online news company. Seen as an organizational wonderchild, he was given a chair on the board of Estonia’s national railways at age 24. Soon, he was ready for the next step in his career.
Embracing future technologies
After hearing that his father’s colleagues had developed a new technology for ultracapacitors, based on curved graphene, he realized the new material’s enormous potential. This is what led him to co-found Skeleton together with Oliver Ahlberg. By combining his and Oliver’s start-up mentality with the scientific knowledge of his father’s colleagues, they created a company that is now one of Estonia’s largest.
Oliver and Taavi took out large loans, invested heavily and quickly managed to sign a contract with their first major client, the European Space Agency. Later on, cities such as Mannheim and Warsaw started using the company’s ultracapacitors in electric trams to harness energy from braking and reusing it to accelerate. Skeleton has a competitive advantage in the ultracapacitor industry thanks to having patented curved graphene, which makes it possible for its ultracapacitors to deliver twice the energy density and four times the power density offered by other manufacturers.
According to Taavi, Europe will accelerate development in key technologies to reclaim its place in the battery and energy storage market which is currently dominated by Asian companies. His company will play an important role in that process as it is now moving on to superbatteries that will be able to significantly expand the range of electric vehicles. If all goes to plan, the Estonian company will play a key role in phasing out the world’s fossil fuel vehicles, one of the most important steps on the path to stopping climate change as well as improving public health by preventing lung diseases and cancer across the world.