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.
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.