I was honored to share the stage with John Roa, a Chicago-based tech entrepreneur at the Greek America Foundation’s last National Innovation Conference in Philadelphia in May.
I talked with Roa, who sold his successful company ÄKTA in 2015 to Salesforce for undisclosed millions, about his recent €10m investment in Mykonos and his newfound love for the island.
Roa has already pumped money into various hospitality projects on the island, including luxury villas, a massive beach bar named SantAnna and a concierge service called Mr. Mykonos.
His real estate group is developing three sets of villas: Villa Nefeli with six rooms, Villa Calypso with seven, and Villa Danaë with 13. In addition, they will continue to develop SantAnna, the luxury beach resort featuring the largest salt water pool in Europe, private beachfront areas, cabanas, bars, and more and grow the concierge service for discerning travelers.
During our chat, Roa announced plans to invest up to €50 million in Greece, a country that he visited for the first time less than two years ago and quite literally— fell in love.
“Mykonos is magic,” Roa told me.
“I can’t pinpoint what it was but there is definitely something there that attracted me back. Maybe it was the energy of the place. In the end, I didn’t choose Greece or Mykonos. They chose me and captured me.”
An avid traveler with business and philanthropic activities throughout the world, he’s traveled by nap sack or briefcase to more than 50 countries.
Roa has been a partner and donor to dozens of non-profit organizations and also runs his own, Digital Hope, that focuses on building a digital bridge between international NGOs with high levels of impact but little means of fundraising, and passionate micro investors in America and Europe. Roa’s organization has successfully executed projects with orphanages, wildlife sanctuaries, schools, anti-trafficking centers, rehabilitation centers, and more, in over a dozen countries.
Follow John in Instagram here.