Kleiner Perkins investors Xie Wen and Huang Haomiao left the company in 2023 to start their own venture capital fund called Matter Venture Partners. The company is backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC.

Hsieh is a long-time KPer, having worked there for 17 years. Huang has been there for four years. Out of his passion for so-called “hard technology”, Hsieh invested in companies such as LuxVue, a micro-screen technology company acquired by Apple, and Amprius, which produces high-energy-density lithium-ion batteries. Mr. Huang led investments in drone manufacturer DJI and 3D printing company Desktop Metal, which went public through a SPAC in 2020.

On Thursday, they announced the completion of a $300 million first round of funding. Hsieh told TechCrunch it is considered one of the largest “first funds” raised in 2023. medium risk fund According to a PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor report, approximately $37 million was raised that year.

Matter Venture Partners originally planned to raise $200 million in funding, and Hsieh acknowledged that raising money in 2023 will be a tough time “for everyone” — startups and venture capitalists alike.

“We went into this project anticipating such difficulties and having very modest expectations,” Hsieh said. “But to our surprise, we’re progressing very smoothly. We raised a total of $300 million last year and it was significantly oversubscribed.”

Know when to say “when”

Hsieh said figuring out the optimal amount to close a fund is a bit like “Goldilocks.” Matter Venture Partners invests in large seed Series A and B rounds.

Wen Hsieh, Matter Venture Partners

Wen Hsieh, co-founder of Matter Venture Partners (Image source: Matter Venture Partners)

If a fund is undercapitalized, he explains, it may not be able to be competitive in deals or support portfolio companies across multiple funding rounds. There is an excess of capital, and there may be too much money to deploy over a two- or three-year lifetime fund cycle. This can also result in too many checks being written or in check amounts that are too large for proper fundraising.

He credits Matter Venture Partners’ focus on hard tech as the reason for the oversubscription. “The world has realized that most of the foundational technologies and trends in today’s society are built on hard technology,” he said. “That has really left us behind. We have succeeded in a very positive way, not by a hair. No injuries and we were lucky to be able to raise funds during these difficult times.”

In addition to Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and TSMC, individuals, entrepreneurs and family offices are backing the fund. Hsieh and Huang are also limited partners in the fund, along with John Budd, who joins them on the investment team.

Leverage operating partners

Matter Venture Partners offers the unique benefit of having an operating partner, which Hsieh said is typically only available to larger companies. One of them is Mel Tang, the former CFO of video doorbell company Ring, which was later acquired by Amazon.

Tang has extensive experience in operations, supply chain management and manufacturing unit economics, and Hsieh believes having such expertise in the early stages of a hard tech startup is a great value-add.

Hsieh said that in terms of how Matter Venture Partners works with founders, partners say they pride themselves on being company builders, but not at the expense of hindering founders. They like to be coaches, partners, and involved when appropriate.

About hard technology

Huang Haomiao, Matter Venture Partners

Huang Haomiao, co-founder of Matter Venture Partners (Photo source: Matter Venture Partners)

They group “hard technology” into six categories: semiconductors, automation and robotics, generative artificial intelligence, manufacturing onshore and offshore, energy building blocks and life sciences.

“The common theme around these six areas is that we like to invest in the next ‘picks and shovels’ of all six trends,” Xie said. “There are many gold rushes going on, but we want to provide the ‘picks and shovels’ in every case. We love funding them and the entrepreneurs who contribute to these new innovations.”

To date, Matter Venture Partners has invested in six companies that have not yet gone public. It’s also doubling down on some products from the pair’s Kleiner Perkins days, including Ambiq Micro, a company Hsieh describes as a “key player in edge AI,” a concept that makes it easier to run artificial intelligence workloads.

“It’s all about low power consumption,” he said. “Is the point about how much energy does inferencing consume, or how much energy does training consume? Ambiq is a world leader in ultra-low power chip manufacturing. They already dominate wearables, and now they are applying that to edge AI applications . This product is having a huge impact and we are creating a new wave of energy-saving AI awareness.”

Eventually, Matter Venture Partners will invest in 15 to 20 companies with the new fund, Hsieh said.

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