“Hard Tech Focus: Matter Venture Partners Secures $300M for Debut Fund”

Wen Hsieh and Haomiao Huang, both Kleiner Perkins investors, left the firm in 2023 to start their own venture capital fund called Matter Venture Partners. The median venture fund raised that year was around $37 million, according to a PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor report. Matter Venture Partners invests at the large seed rounds, Series A and Series B. He believes that Matter Venture Partner’s focus on hard tech was the reason for the oversubscription. We like to fund them and entrepreneurs that contribute to these new innovations.”So far, Matter Venture Partners invested in six companies not made public yet.

Wen Hsieh and Haomiao Huang, both former investors of Kleiner Perkins, shattered expectations by leaving the renowned firm in 2023 to establish their own venture capital fund called Matter Venture Partners. With the support of Kleiner and Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC, the duo embarked on a new journey to invest in what they are most passionate about – “hard tech.”

After 17 years at KPer and four years at the firm respectively, Hsieh and Huang have made a name for themselves in the venture capital world. Hsieh’s notable investments include LuxVue, a microscreen technology company acquired by Apple, and Amprius, a producer of high-energy density lithium-ion batteries. Huang’s endeavors led to successful investments in DJI, a drone manufacturer, and Desktop Metal, a 3D printing company that went public through a SPAC in 2020.

Now, with the closing of their inaugural fund of $300 million, Hsieh proudly shares with TechCrunch that it is considered one of the largest “first funds” raised in 2023. In comparison, the median venture fund raised that year was around $37 million, according to a PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor report.

Matter Venture Partners initially aimed for a $200 million fund, but Hsieh remembers the difficulties of raising money in 2023: “it was a tough time for everybody.” Nevertheless, their efforts paid off as the fund was significantly oversubscribed, surpassing their expectations. “We closed $300 million last year, in its entirety, and were significantly oversubscribed,” Hsieh confirms.

Figuring out the ideal amount to close the fund was a challenge for Hsieh and Huang. They wanted to ensure that Matter Venture Partners could remain competitive and support their portfolio companies without being overcapitalized. As Hsieh states, it was like being “Goldilocks.”

Being oversubscribed can be attributed to Matter Venture Partners’ focus on hard tech. Hsieh sheds light on this, saying, “the world has realized that most, if not many, of the foundational technologies and trends of our society today are built on hard tech.” This realization gave their fund considerable momentum and allowed it to thrive even during difficult times.

Aside from Kleiner LP and TSMC, the fund also received backing from individuals, entrepreneurs, and family offices. Moreover, Hsieh, Huang, and John Budd, an essential member of the investing team, are also LPs in the fund.

Matter Venture Partners stands out from other firms by having operating partners, a benefit that is typically only available to larger firms. One of these partners is Mel Tang, former CFO of Ring, a video doorbell company acquired by Amazon. Tang’s expertise in operations, supply chain management, and manufacturing unit economics is invaluable to hard tech startups in their early stages. Hsieh believes that having someone like Tang on board can provide a significant value-add.

Hsieh and Huang take pride in being company builders for the startups they invest in, but they also understand the importance of not getting in the way of the founders. They aim to be coaches, partners, and only jump in when necessary.

When it comes to their investment focus, Matter Venture Partners has identified six areas of hard tech: semiconductors, automation and robotization, generative AI, manufacturing onshoring and offshoring, energy building blocks, and life science. By investing in the next “picks and shovels” for these six trends, the firm is confident in its ability to contribute to and benefit from innovative new technologies.

Currently, Matter Venture Partners has invested in six companies that have yet to be made public. They have also continued to support a few startups from their Kleiner Perkins days, including Ambiq Micro. Hsieh describes Ambiq as “a key player in edge AI,” which involves more efficient AI workloads. With their ultra-low powered chips, Ambiq has become a world leader in wearable technology and is now expanding into edge AI applications. Hsieh is proud of the impact Ambiq is making and believes that their investment will only continue to grow as energy-efficient AI becomes more prevalent.

In the end, Matter Venture Partners plans to invest in 15 to 20 companies with their newfound fund. With their expertise and focus on hard tech, the firm is poised for success in the ever-changing world of venture capital.

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Ava Patel

Ava Patel is a cultural critic and commentator with a focus on literature and the arts. She is known for her thought-provoking essays and reviews, and has a talent for bringing new and diverse voices to the forefront of the cultural conversation.

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