John Roa is the CEO and founder of ÄKTA, an experience design agency based in Chicago. After just four years, the bootstrapped company has achieved an overall growth rate of 1,147% and is one of the Top 10 Fastest-Growing, Private Companies in Chicago. In 2014, ÄKTA was also recognized as one of Inc. 500’s Fastest Growing Companies in the America.
John founded ÄKTA after a successful exit from a video game marketing agency in 2007. More than being a life-long digital entrepreneur and international thought leader in user experience and human-centered design, John can spot and seize business opportunities before they become obvious to just anyone. He saw the need to meet today’s growing need to integrate User Experience (UX) Design, with a focus on mobility and the Internet of Things, into any company’s overall Customer Experience (CX) Strategy. Chicago was the perfect city to set-up shop because of its growing ecosystem of tech/tech-abled companies, investor community and talent pool. Being an avid and adventurous world-traveller, John finds inspiration in the most unlikely places. After travelling to Iceland a few years ago, he came back and cofounded Digital Hope, a nonprofit that harnesses the power of crowd funding (via social media) to channel resources into micro, underfunded non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in developing countries.
When he is not running things at ÄKTA or travelling the globe, John is working on exciting new projects. He is an active angel investor in the Chicago startup community, and was recently recognized as one of Crain’s Chicago Business 40 Under 40 for his visionary leadership. You can find him on the speaking circuit promoting Entrepreneurship, Business Innovation, Mobility, User and Costumer Experience Design, the Chicago Tech scene and other critical matters in our increasingly connected world.