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Investing In Design-Led Companies & What Chicago Tech Is Missing - John Roa / AKTA & Roa Ventures

John Roa is a serial tech entrepreneur and long time Chicagoan. He got his entrepreneurial start by creating a computer repair business at 14 and hasn't stopped since. Last year, he sold ÄKTA, his tech-consulting and design firm, to Salesforce.  Now John is planning to invest in other Chicago startups via Roa Ventures, a fund that focuses on "early-stage investments, projects and experiments". He has also created the non-profit, Digital Hope, and enjoys playing competitive poker and traveling extensively. 

In This Episode You Will Learn:

  • How John got started as an entrepreneur
  • Why he started AKTA and where the name comes from
  • What John attributes the success of AKTA to
  • How John made the the decision to sell AKTA? 
  • If he would take venture capital if he could do it again
  • Problems he sees in taking venture capital
  • Why he's investing instead of starting another startup
  • John's criteria for his next startup
  • What draws John to travel? He has been to 50+ countries. 
  • How to build a brand as a new angel investor?
  • Similarities between poker and startups
  • What Chicago tech is good at & what we could improve on
  • Why John doesn’t believe in giving advice

Selected Links From The Episode:

Favorite Book: 

Artificial Intelligence, Healthcare Startups, Wearables & Diversity - Star Cunningham / Founder of 4DHealthware

Livestreaming, Virtual Reality, E-Sports & Hiring Your Biggest Critic - Stu Grubbs / Founder of Infiniscene