Ryan Hibbison

Maximilian Winter began investing from the Winter family office and launched Harmonix in 2017.

Harmonix is currently trying to raise capital for its third fund, having recently closed a modest “roughly $20 million” second fund. The La Quinta, California-based firm invests in life sciences, healthcare, and deep-tech infrastructure companies primarily based in the US.

Harmonix’s third fund will target $100 million and employs a 2 percent management fee and 20 percent carried interest, founder and general partner Maximilian Winter tells Venture Capital Journal.

Fund II, which uses the same fee structure, invested in 12 companies including Bit.Bio, a spin-out from the University of Cambridge that developed technology to allow for the production of human cells at scale for use in cell therapies. Harmonix invested from fund II in the company’s $187.51
million Series B round in December 2021.

The firm declined to share the names of its LPs but did say that they include a diversified family office based in Turkey, a life sciences entrepreneur considered “one of the experts in the space,” and an early e-commerce and AI entrepreneur.

Winter got his start investing out of the Winter family office. The family goes back four generations to a German automotive manufacturer that began producing train parts before transitioning to disc brakes and motor blocks around 70 years ago. The family office is now the anchor investor in Winter’s second fund.

When the electric vehicle craze began, Winter felt the best way to “foster innovation and contribute to the family business [was] to invest in the health area.”
Winter founded Harmonix in 2017 and financed it with a $5 million fund of his own money in 2019. The inaugural fund invested in 30 companies, including the $2 million seed round of 3D bioprinting platform Volumetric in June 2020 and the Series B1 round of AI drug discovery platform InSilico Medecine in January 2020.

The firm exited Volumetric when it was acquired by 3D printing and digital manufacturing company 3D Systems (NYS: DDD) for $45 million in December 2021.

Winter himself dealt with Lyme disease before being cured roughly a decade ago, and now feels his firm’s investment focus is especially impactful.

“There are a lot of VCs and proven models, and I think they’ve all done great things, but what’s just now emerging is that you can do things that are meaningfully changing people’s quality of life and their health with these technologies,” he explains. “It’s still really hard and you need this functional, cross-domain expertise between the tech side and the bio side, but it’s something that’s been really gratifying and very meaningful.”

Winter says that Fund II opened with a target of $50 million but that the firm “closed Fund II below our initial target due to a poor fundraising environment in venture capital, despite the resilience in healthcare and critical infrastructure, specifically the most promising breakthroughs in these sectors, and a track record including two top-performing funds.”

He also points to firm partner Krish Ramadurai, who worked under Nobel Laureate economist Michael Kremer on the United States Agency for International Development’s Innovation Ventures Fund, as having been integral to many of Harmonix’s investments.

“[Ramadurai] worked under a Nobel Laureate that received an award for quantifying social impact,” Winter tells VCJ. “Him being able to bring that institutional diligence process and experience over is invaluable. We’re still working on it but we’re working on over 50 therapeutic areas and addressing over 1 billion patient needs.”

As for the firm’s name, not to be mistaken for the video game developer Harmonix Music Systems, Winter says it came from the desire to “harmonize human health.”