Wen Hsieh and Haomiao Huang, both former investors at Kleiner Perkins, have embarked on a new venture, establishing Matter Venture Partners with a robust $300 million fund dedicated to advancing “hard tech” innovations. The fund, which benefits from the backing of Kleiner Perkins and Taiwanese semiconductor leader TSMC, marks one of the largest inaugural venture funds of 2023, significantly surpassing the median venture fund size of $37 million reported for the same period.

Before their departure from Kleiner Perkins in 2023, Hsieh and Huang had a notable track record of investing in groundbreaking technology firms. Their portfolio includes investments in companies like LuxVue, a microLED technology firm acquired by Apple; Amprius, known for its high-energy lithium-ion batteries; as well as DJI and Desktop Metal, a 3D printing company that went public in 2020. Together, they co-led investments in innovative ventures such as robotics company Dexterity and CT scanning pioneer Lumafield.

Despite the challenging funding landscape of 2023, Matter Venture Partners aimed for a $200 million fund but was met with overwhelming interest, closing at $300 million and achieving significant oversubscription. Hsieh attributes this success to the firm’s sharp focus on hard tech—a sector recognized for underpinning many of society’s foundational technologies and trends.

Matter Venture Partners plans to concentrate its investments on substantial seed, Series A, and Series B funding rounds. Hsieh emphasizes the importance of balancing the fund’s capital to ensure competitiveness in deals while maintaining the ability to support portfolio companies through their growth phases without the pitfalls of overcapitalization.

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The firm’s dedication to hard tech spans six critical areas: widespread adoption of semiconductors, robotization to address blue-collar labor shortages, generative AI, reshoring of manufacturing, foundational energy technologies, and life science automation. Hsieh explains that Matter Venture Partners aspires to be the provider of the essential “picks and shovels” for these burgeoning sectors, supporting entrepreneurs who are at the forefront of these innovations.

Among the unique aspects of Matter Venture Partners is its use of operating partners, a practice more common in larger firms. Mel Tang, former CFO of Ring (acquired by Amazon), brings invaluable experience in operations, supply chain management, and manufacturing to the early stages of hard tech startups, adding significant value.

Hsieh and Huang, along with operating partner Mel Tang, are also limited partners in the fund, showcasing their commitment to the venture. The team at Matter Venture Partners prides itself on being company builders who offer guidance and support to founders without overshadowing their vision and efforts.

To date, Matter Venture Partners has made investments in six companies, details of which remain undisclosed, and continues to support ventures from their Kleiner Perkins days. This includes Ambiq Micro, described by Hsieh as a leader in ultra-low-power chip technology, which is now making strides in edge AI applications with its energy-efficient solutions.

With plans to invest in 15 to 20 companies, Matter Venture Partners is poised to make a significant impact on the hard tech landscape, driving innovation and supporting the next wave of technological advancements.