Battery Ventures Creates Latest Lab-Automation Technologies Platform with Investments in Skalar Analytical, PromoChrom and LCTech

October 18, 2023

Battery Ventures, a global, technology-focused investment firm, today announced the creation of a new laboratory-automation platform following recent acquisitions of three complementary companies: Skalar Analytical, PromoChrom Technologies and LCTech.

Skalar Analytical, based in Breda, the Netherlands, manufactures a range of chemistry analyzers and laboratory-automation solutions for environmental and agricultural applications. Skalar serves as the foundation for the new platform, while PromoChrom—which is based in Richmond, British Columbia and has a significant North American presence—adds a business focused on automated solid-phase extraction (SPE) sample-preparation solutions. PromoChrom is focused on the rapidly growing PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) testing market. LCTech, based in Obertaufkirchen, Germany, offers a broad range of SPE consumables and advanced automation and robotics capabilities, while also providing a strong entry point into food and feed testing with its dioxin-analysis product line.

All three companies sell products to major, multi-national commercial testing laboratories and industrial customers across environmental, agricultural, and food-and-beverage end markets, enabling these customers to automate previously manual workflows.

The selling shareholder group from Skalar Analytical, led by Rene van der Wagt and Sjaak Furrer, were pleased to partner with Battery to help take Skalar to the next level. “Having developed a relationship with Battery over the past decade, we are excited to see Skalar Analytical flourish under Battery’s ownership,” said Rene van der Wagt. Sjaak Furrer added: “We had the benefit of watching the Battery team execute their M&A strategy with numerous European companies over the years and are thrilled to see Skalar Analytical as the starting point of a new Battery platform.”

Battery’s goal with the transactions is to create a large, innovative global laboratory automation player; the firm expects to continue pursuing a highly acquisitive growth strategy. As part of this initiative, Battery appointed Amod Kher as Group CEO to drive organic growth and continued M&A, as well as to oversee integration efforts. Kher joins the Skalar Group from Gardner Denver Medical, a segment of Ingersoll Rand, Inc. (NYSE: IR), where he was vice president and general manager. Kher has previous leadership experience across a number of business units within Danaher (NYSE: DHR).

The investments come as the market for laboratory-automation continues to grow amid increased labor shortages and higher labor costs; stricter and more complex regulations drive the adoption of more advanced testing methods; and technological advancements make automated laboratory instruments more accessible and easier to use. In addition, environmental testing is increasing overall, partly because of the rising profile of widespread environmental contaminants such as PFAS—known commonly as “forever chemicals” because they are extremely persistent, lasting thousands of years before breaking down—and the convergence of regulatory standards across developed and emerging countries.

“Since we started as a family business, every step in navigating the PFAS extraction landscape has been a learning process for us. We are grateful for the successes along the way and proud to be recognized by Battery Ventures as a leader in our field,” said Haibin Wan, PromoChrom founder and CEO. “Today, we embark on an exciting new chapter as we join forces with like-minded individuals at Skalar and Battery. This partnership allows us to harness their resources and experience to bring our automation solutions to all corners of the globe while our values towards customer satisfaction and passion for driving efficiency will continue to transcend this collaboration.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Amod and the respective leaders at Skalar Analytical, PromoChrom, and LCTech to create this new platform,” said Zack Smotherman, a Battery general partner. “Having previous experience with lab-automation company SPT Labtech*, we saw firsthand the trend towards automation within the drug-discovery and life-sciences markets and are enthusiastic about creating a new company addressing the same challenges within environmental, agricultural and food applications.”

Added Battery Principal Justin Rosner: “We see these three companies as established players with entrenched customer networks and distribution channels from Skalar Analytical and LCTech and considerable accelerated growth potential with innovative products from PromoChrom. As a platform, the Skalar Group is poised to capitalize on the opportunity to address emerging contaminants of concern while also improving the efficiency and accuracy of testing at global scale.”

“I am excited to join forces with Battery, a seasoned industrial-technology investor with extensive experience creating platforms through global M&A,” said Kher, the Skalar Group CEO. “I look forward to our partnership as we work together to shape this new venture, guiding the Skalar Group into the next phase of its growth trajectory.”

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