Investments, Projects and Experiments by John Roa
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20 years of tech and lifestyle entrepreneurship

John Roa is an award-winning entrepreneur and innovator in the start-up technology and lifestyle markets. His latest venture, ÄKTA, was fully acquired by Salesforce Inc. in September, 2015. Today, he focuses on early-stage investments, projects and experiments in Chicago, Los Angeles and London.

"I believe in design-led companies and the power of customer experience. The companies I invest in all share one thing in common: we create unfair advantages by basing every decision on a deep, personal understanding of our customers and always deliver through beautiful experiences."


Portfolio Companies



Innovation / User Experience design consultancy focused on digital transformation for the enterprise. Fastest Growing Companies 2013.
Industry: Consulting | Design
Location: Chicago
Role: Founder
Status: Acquired by Salesforce

The Grand Voyage

Created by fashion footwear veteran Robert Nand, Grand Voyage is a luxury men’s footwear/accessory brand, producing the highest quality, artisanal products.
Industry: E-Commerce | Retail
Location: Los Angeles
Role: Investor / Advisor
Status: Active


Direct-to-Consumer luxury eyewear brand featuring artisanal products all hand-made in Greece.
Industry: E-Commerce | Retail
Location: Chicago
Role: Investor / Board Member
Status: Active


SocialCrunch is a behavior graph of people on the Internet based on psychographic data sets. TechStars class of 2013.
Industry: Analytics
Location: Chicago
Role: Founder / Investor / Advisor
Status: Acquired by Tastebud

The Betty

The Betty is a neighborhood gathering place located within the Fulton Market District of the West Loop.
Industry: Hospitality
Location: Chicago
Role: Investor
Status: Active

Rose & Poison

A private "London-style" cocktail lounge that will set a new level for service and exclusivity in Chicago. More info.
Industry: Hospitality
Location: Chicago
Role: Founder / Investor
Status: Launching 2017

Like a Gentleman

Old school meets new school barber shop.
Industry: Retail
Location: West Hollywood
Role: Investor
Status: Active

Get In Touch



Fulton Market

Pitch Me

Actively entertaining technology / lifestyle investments
  • Email
  • Include
    Cover letter, deck
  • Must speak to
    Team, financials, experience
  • Most importantly
    "What unmet need are you solving for your users? How do you know they need this?"
  • Don't ask for