Anzu Partners isn't looking for the next Facebook, but would love to back the next Foxconn or Dow Chemical

Key Points
  • Anzu Partners closed its debut fund at $128.4 million.
  • The firm will back companies developing technologies for industrial use, rather than the consumer and business software pursued by most venture capitalists.

Anzu Partners has closed its debut tech fund at $128.4 million and plans to invest in anything but the next Facebook, CNBC has learned.

The Washington, D.C.-based firm is instead looking to industrial opportunities, and hopes to land the next generation's Foxconn, Dow Chemical or Cree Lighting.

Anzu Partners' Whitney Haring-Smith, who co-founded the firm with David Michael and David Seldin, told CNBC, "We plan to invest in private companies with breakthroughs in the M's -- materials, manufacturing, measuring, monitoring and modeling. Companies in these industries would probably never become a household brand name. But they impact everything in and around the house from your car to the items in your kitchen or medicine cabinet."

The firm has been investing under-the-radar in a mix of venture and private equity deals since 2014, but had not raised a large fund of pooled capital for deals until this year. Its portfolio includes: Nuburu, a maker of high-powered blue lasers used for precision welding in aerospace and electronics; SLIPS Technologies, which makes super slippery coatings used to keep industrial equipment clean; and OTI Lumionics, a maker of OLED materials that go into high-definition displays.

Previously Anzu set up "special purpose vehicles," drawing together a mix of family offices and high-net worth individuals to back early-stage start-ups or to take divestitures (a.k.a. spin-outs) from Fortune 500 companies.

Now that Anzu Partners has more dry powder for equity deals, the firm will be adding personnel and advisors with a highly technical background to scout deals, including from top universities in the U.S. and Canada.

"We're more likely to hire a chemical engineer than an MBA," Haring-Smith said.