John Roa, B.B.A.’07
Principal of Roa Ventures
Founder of ÄKTA (acquired by SalesForce)
Co-Founder of Digital Hope
John Roa is a lifelong entrepreneur and thought leader in experience design, innovation and digital transformation. Roa started ÄKTA in 2010, a user-experience design consultancy in Chicago. ÄKTA went on to be one of the fastest growing companies in America in 2013 and 2014 and was fully acquired by Salesforce in fall 2015. He went on to manage the acquisition integration in an executive role with Salesforce until his resignation in May 2016.
His latest company, Roa Ventures, focuses on early-stage investments, projects, and experiments in lifestyle and technology companies. He has made active investments in startups in Chicago, Los Angeles and London, and is concurrently pursuing his next major personal technology venture.
An avid and adventurous world traveler, Roa finds inspiration in the most unlikely places. After travelling the world, he came back and cofounded Digital Hope, a nonprofit that harnesses the power of crowdfunding through social media to channel resources into micro, underfunded non-governmental organizations in developing countries.
Roa, an active angel investor in the Chicago startup community, was recently recognized on Crain’s Chicago Business 40 Under 40 list for his visionary leadership. He is a sought after speaker on artificial intelligence, entrepreneurship, business innovation, mobility and user experience design.