John Roa of Roa Ventures on What Chicago Tech Is Missing

April 8, 2017

2:30 pm

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’ll learn about how John got started as an entrepreneur, why he started AKTA and where the name comes from, what he attributes the success of AKTA to, and how he made the the decision to sell AKTA. Plus, we’ll discuss whether or not he would take venture capital if he could do it again, the problems he sees in taking venture capital, why he’s investing instead of starting another startup, and his criteria for his next startup.

Finally, we delved deeper into what draws John to travel (he’s been to 50+ countries), how to build a brand as a new angel investor, the similarities between poker and startups, what Chicago tech is good at and what we could improve on, and why he doesn’t believe in giving advice.



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Colin Keeley is the founder and host of Tech In Chicago, an independent podcast with interviews from Chicago’s top startup founders and venture capitalists.