Our Mentors

Julian Cheng

Julian Cheng is a Partner and Senior Director at Illinois Ventures focusing on technology investments where he invests at the idea, pre-seed, and early stage from the undergraduate college founder to the senior seasoned technology veteran geographically in Illinois, Midwest, or across the nation. Prior to joining Illinois Ventures, he fundraised, invested, and managed a small micro VC fund with over 60 portfolio companies with investments in areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, computer vision, space, AR, connected car, healthtech, fintech, insurance, and others. Julian is passionate about supporting and mentoring founders to help them build world-changing businesses and building their character. 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 education spaces. After working at large tech companies and start-ups in SF, LA, Austin, and NY, he returned to Chicago to help invest in and cultivate the local technical and entrepreneurial ecosystem in hopes to transform the community. 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 Masters. 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.