Julian Cheng

Partner / Senior Director at Illinois VENTURES

Julian is a Senior Director at IllinoisVENTURES focusing on software, hardware, and technology investments. He helped raise, invest, and manage $175M in over 70 portfolio companies with investments in areas such as autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, robotics, computer vision, space, VR/AR, connected car, healthtech, fintech, insurance, agtech, and others. Julian is passionate about supporting and mentoring founders to help them build world-changing businesses.

Before becoming a venture capital investor, he managed and developed software and hardware for enterprises, microprocessors, satellites, and co-founded two start-ups in the Internet of Things and consumer education spaces. After working for large technology companies and start-ups in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, and New York, he returned to Chicago to help invest in and cultivate the local technical and entrepreneurial ecosystem in hopes of transforming it into the next big technology hub.

He has a BS in Electrical Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and studied engineering management at Stanford and Northwestern Universities where he obtained his MS. Julian is a dedicated husband and father and is an active volunteer in the community where he serves on the Advisory Board of Northwestern University's NUvention Web + Media, mentors at local high schools' startup incubators, and leads several youth extracurricular programs, sports leagues, and at church.

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