Matter Venture Partners raises $300M first fund to invest in ‘hard tech’

Matter Venture Partners raises $300M first fund to invest in ‘hard tech’ post thumbnail image

Wen Hsieh and Haomiao Huang, each Kleiner Perkins traders, left the agency in 2023 to begin their very own enterprise capital fund referred to as Matter Venture Partners. The agency had backing from Kleiner and Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC.

Hsieh was a longtime KPer, having been there for 17 years; Huang had been there 4 years. With a ardour for what they name “laborious tech,” Hsieh invested in corporations like microLED show expertise firm LuxVue, acquired by Apple, Amprius, which makes excessive vitality density lithium-ion batteries, drone maker DJI and 3D printing firm Desktop Steel, which went public via SPAC in 2020. Huang and Hsieh co-led investments in corporations just like the robotics firm Dexterity and the CT scanning firm Lumafield.

On Thursday, they introduced the closing of a $300 million inaugural fund. Hsieh informed TechCrunch it’s thought-about one of many largest “first funds” raised in 2023. The median venture fund raised that yr was round $37 million, in response to a PitchBook-NVCA Enterprise Monitor report.

Matter Enterprise Companions was initially going for a $200 million fund, and Hsieh acknowledged that “it was a troublesome time for everyone” — startups and enterprise capitalists alike — to boost cash in 2023.

“We had gone into it anticipating such problem and had very modest expectations,” Hsieh mentioned. “However to our shock, it went rather well for us. We closed $300 million final yr, in its entirety, and have been considerably oversubscribed.”

Understanding when to say “when”

Determining the perfect quantity to shut the fund is a bit like being “Goldilocks,” Hsieh mentioned. Matter Enterprise Companions invests on the massive seed rounds, Sequence A and Sequence B.

Wen Hsieh, Matter Venture Partners

Wen Hsieh, co-founder of Matter Enterprise Companions (Picture credit score: Matter Enterprise Companions)

If a fund is undercapitalized, it might not have the ability to be aggressive in offers or received’t have the ability to assist portfolio corporations throughout a number of rounds, he defined. Overcapitalized and it might have an excessive amount of cash to deploy inside a two- or three-year lifetime fund cycle. That would additionally result in writing too many checks or sizes of checks which are too large for the suitable fundraising.

He believes that Matter Enterprise Companion’s give attention to laborious tech was the explanation for the oversubscription. “The world has realized that the majority if not most of the foundational applied sciences and tendencies of our society at this time are constructed on laborious tech,” he mentioned. “That actually places wind behind ourselves. We got here out profitable and unscathed in a really constructive method, and we’re very fortunate to have raised cash at a troublesome time.”

Along with Kleiner LP and TSMC, people, entrepreneurs and household places of work additionally again the fund. Hsieh, Huang, and working companion, Mel Tang are additionally LPs within the fund.

Leveraging working companions

Matter Enterprise Companions supplies a novel side of getting working companions, which Hsieh mentioned is often one thing solely bigger companies have. One is Mel Tang, former CFO of video doorbell firm Ring, which was later acquired by Amazon.

Tang has expertise in operations, provide chain administration and manufacturing unit economics, and Hsieh believes having experience like this early-on within the lifetime of a tough tech startup is an efficient value-add.

When it comes to how Matter Enterprise Companions works with founders, the companions say they satisfaction themselves on being firm builders, however not on the expense of getting in the best way of founders, Hsieh mentioned. They prefer to be coaches, companions and bounce in, all the place acceptable.

All about laborious tech

Haomiao Huang, Matter Venture Partners

Haomiao Huang, co-founder of Matter Enterprise Companions (Picture credit score: Matter Enterprise Companions)

They put “laborious tech” into six buckets: semiconductors, automation and robotization, generative AI, manufacturing onshoring and offshoring, vitality constructing blocks and life science.

“The frequent theme round these six areas is that we prefer to spend money on the subsequent ‘picks and shovels’ for all six of those tendencies,” Hsieh mentioned. “There are lots of gold rushes ongoing, however we want to present the ‘picks and shovels’ in each case. We prefer to fund them and entrepreneurs that contribute to those new improvements.”

Thus far, Matter Enterprise Companions invested in six corporations not made public but. It additionally doubled down on a number of that got here from the pair’s Kleiner Perkins days, together with Ambiq Micro, an organization Hsieh described as “a key participant in edge AI,” which is an idea of extra simply operating AI workloads.

“It’s all about low energy,” he mentioned. “The large discuss is about how a lot vitality does it devour for inference, or how a lot vitality for coaching? Ambiq is a world chief in making ultra-low powered chips. They’ve dominated wearables, and now they’re parlaying that into edge AI purposes. The product is having a huge effect, and we’re using a brand new wave of energy-efficient AI consciousness.”

In the end, Matter Enterprise Companions will spend money on between 15 and 20 corporations with the brand new fund, Hsieh mentioned.

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