Gojo & Company, Inc. (Gojo) is pleased to announce that Mr. Arnaud Ventura, Founder and CEO of Baobab Group until end of 2019, has joined Gojo as Managing Partner.
Before joining Gojo, Arnaud founded and led two of the foremost European financial inclusion groups active in Micro & SME digital finance.
Between 1998 and 2008, Arnaud co-founded and led PlaNet Finance with the support of Jacques Attali (Chairman) and Muhammad Yunus (Chairman Advisory Board). It was one of the most successful European financial inclusion groups, providing mainly advisory services in the sector and operating in more than 30 markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
In 2008, Arnaud then went on to found Baobab (formerly MicroCred), the leading Micro & SME digital bank in Africa & China. In 2019 alone, Baobab lent $1 billion to 1 million clients, generating around $200 million total revenues and more than $40 million pre-tax profit.
Since he left Baobab in December 2019, Arnaud has served as an advisor to Gojo and we have built trusting relationships. Arnaud will support the organization and development of Gojo by establishing an optimal group governance system, supporting the digital strategy of the group and fundraising activities, as well as leading Gojo’s initial entry to Africa. With over 20 years of entrepreneurial experience in microfinance and a global network, Arnaud is expected to further accelerate Gojo’s fundraising, digitalization, investment, and geographic expansion strategy immediately into Africa and beyond.
Arnaud is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum. He also co-founded the French China Foundation, the leading network of Young Leaders between France and China, and Share Africa, a platform to promote Africa's innovation and creativity. Arnaud graduated from EFREI, Paris, in Computer Science, and La Sorbonne in Philosophy. He speaks French, English and Spanish fluently and loves reading history & philosophy. He loves skiing and hiking in the mountains (particularly in the south of France), and has 2 young boys.
Arnaud states, “Since advising Taejun Shin, Founder & CEO, and Gojo’s team for more than 1 year, I have been impressed by the quality of the team and the ambition of the company. I am happy to be able to support its development and transform Gojo’s vision into reality in the coming years”.
Gojo extends a warm welcome to Arnaud and looks forward to extending financial inclusion further!
About Gojo & Company
Gojo was founded to extend financial inclusion to everyone in the world beginning with the developing countries. Gojo encourages the formalization and growth of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises. Our long-term goal is to enable the provision of high-quality affordable financial services for 100+ million unserved and underserved people in 50+ countries by 2030. Six years since our establishment, we work in Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and India with USD 310 million gross loan portfolio, 5,000+ employees, serving more than 627,000 clients.
Arnaud Ventura氏は2013年に世界経済フォーラムのYoung Global Leaderに選出されたほか、フランスと中国間の若手リーダー育成を目指すネットワークであるFrench China Foundation、アフリカにおけるイノベーションの促進を目指すプラットフォームであるShare Africaを共同創業しました。フランスのEFREI Parisでコンピューターサイエンスを、Sorbonne Universityで哲学を専攻しました。
Gojo to accelerate investments to fuel further digitalization and social impact of group companies as it successfully completes the final close of its Series D financing
Gojo & Company, Inc. (“Gojo”) is pleased to announce the successful final close of its Series D financing of USD 26 million. Gojo has raised a total of USD 68 million in Series D, with cumulative paid-in capital since our establishment in July 2014 now reaching USD 140 million.
In addition to follow-on investments from existing shareholders, The Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, Limited, MARUI GROUP Co., and ASTMAX Fund Management Co., Ltd. as the General Partner of TUS (Tokyo University of Science) Capital Ⅰ L.P., Gojo welcomes RICOH LEASING COMPANY, LTD., Beyond Next Ventures Inc., GMO VenturePartners, Inc., and several newly joined institutional and individual investors in this final close.
We see the follow-on investments from existing shareholders and investments from these distinguished new investors as indications of their confidence in Gojo’s ability to achieve double bottom line returns, seeking both financial sustainability and positive social impact through financial inclusion. As a business whose core vision is to enable people in poverty to overcome barriers to better futures, Gojo is committed to delivering positive impact on the following Sustainable Development Goals: Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere; Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth; and Goal 10: Reduced inequality.
Gojo’s group companies have shown quick recovery from COVID-19 impact and are now en route back to growth. The funds raised will mainly be used to further their growth and digitalization , to explore future expansion opportunities in new markets in Asia and Africa, and to engage in further impact measurement activities to evaluate the outcomes of our operations in clients’ lives.
Nomination of Ms. Royanne Doi as new independent director to strengthen group governance
Gojo is happy to announce the nomination of Ms. Royanne Doi, former Corporate Chief Ethics Officer of Prudential Financial Inc., and former Advisor for Global Legal, Ethics & Compliance to Yamaha Corporation as independent director of the board. Ms. Doi will officially be appointed as a board member subject to an Extraordinary Shareholders Meeting resolution in early 2021.
Ms. Doi states “I am honored to serve on Gojo’s Board as an independent director. My first touch point with microfinance banking was in 2010. I made a contribution to the capital of a fledgling microfinance bank, which was focused on unbanked women and farmers in India." Ms. Doi brings extensive practical experience in law, global business ethics, and international compliance. She is expected to facilitate the process of instilling and safeguarding Gojo’s mission, vision, and core values within Gojo’s group companies, including by:
Facilitating learning on ethics & compliance best practices among Gojo’s group companies, and
Helping Gojo’s board better manage integrity/misconduct risks with high standards of corporate governance in the international arena.
Gojo is working to establish an optimal group governance system through implementation of more advanced internal control systems and enhancement of compliance. Ms. Doi’s appointment as independent director is expected to further accelerate the strengthening of internal audit and corporate governance that will enable the sustainable growth of Gojo Group.
Prior to Yamaha, Ms. Doi held senior legal positions with major global financial institutions. At one point, she managed 200+ staff around the world, with business experience in North and South America, Asia and Europe. During her tenure as a global ethics officer, Prudential Financial received Ethisphere’s designation as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the first time in 2015, and multiple times thereafter.
Ms. Doi has an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, from Washington University in St. Louis, graduating Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa. She earned her Juris Doctorate from UCLA School of Law. She is married to her law school sweetheart and has lived in Japan since 1994.
Recovery from impact of COVID-19 and acceleration of growth initiatives
The immediate health impact of COVID-19 on our clients and employees and on our group companies’ operations remains low, even though the microfinance sector has had to adapt to lockdowns in an increased number of the areas where we operate. We are complying with government regulations for COVID-19 in all the affected countries and communicating with our clients very closely. As lockdowns have gradually been lifted in all areas, collection efficiency has broadly improved to the pre-COVID-19 level across four operating countries. New loan disbursement has been cautiously resumed and liquidity of the group companies continues to remain strong. The microfinance sector, whose end-clients are engaged in essential businesses such as agriculture, rearing livestock, and neighborhood grocery services, has shown resilience over the past two decades.
We will accelerate the implementation of non-touch-based technology by promoting cashless operations and expanding loan automation for SMEs to microfinance clients, in order to be ahead of the curve once the macro environment recovers. As an example, Satya MicroCapital, our group company in India, has substantially strengthened digitalization of its operations, including cashless disbursement and collections utilizing fingerprint and mobile payments, called “SatyaPay.” Gojo’s technology team is also working on expanding our own Digital Field Application (DFA) which has been first implemented in MAXIMA, our group company in Cambodia. These initiatives will be optimized and deployed across the group companies.
We will continue to pursue digital transformation of traditional microfinance services while achieving the best possible combination of technology and human touch. Keeping a client-centric approach, we will continue to provide more convenient financial services to our clients in Asia, Africa, and the rest of the world.
Comments from existing investors:
Masahisa Aoki, Director and Senior Executive Officer, General Manager, Co-Creative Investment Department, President and Director, D2C & Co. Inc.
MARUI GROUP, Co., LTD.
"Gojo is an irreplaceable partner for us to achieve cross-border financial inclusion, which MARUI GROUP aims to achieve by 2050. Our beliefs in Gojo have remained unchanged since our first investment in June 2019 but it grows stronger through exponential business growth, persistent efforts under the impact of COVID-19 and strengthening of the team. We made an additional investment to build a stronger partnership from the perspective of “Co-creation”. We have strong empathy with Gojo’s mission “to extend financial inclusion to everyone”. We would like to realize financial inclusion through a combination of the passion of the team and financial technology."
Kazuyuki Shigemoto, Executive Officer / Chief General Manager, Investment
The Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, Limited
“We made an additional investment in Gojo as an “Impact Investment” to aim both earning investment income and creating social impact with having sympathy with Taejun Shin, CEO, and his vision “to create the Private Sector World Bank”. Since our last investment, Gojo has achieved steady growth. We expect Gojo to continue contributing to the improvement of people’s Quality of Lives by expanding financial access in developing countries.”
Kentaro Obata, Managing Executive Officer
ASTMAX Fund Management Co., Ltd. as the General Partner of TUS (Tokyo University of Science) Capital Ⅰ L.P.
“ASTMAX manages a university-originated venture capital fund mainly invested by the Tokyo University of Science as we aim to increase our asset value through the investment to contribute to our society. We made our first investment in Gojo in August 2019 driven by our sympathy towards Taejun Shin, CEO, and the team’s passion and capabilities to achieve their vision, “A world where everyone can determine their own future.” With continued expectations, we were pleased to make an additional investment in this round.”
Comments from new investors:
Tokuharu Nakamura, Representative Director, President and Chief Executive Officer
RICOH LEASING COMPANY, LTD.
“We are investing and supporting business fields that have a positive impact on social issues, and we are investing as part of this. We expect Gojo’s further growth with maximizing both economic and social values as Gojo to achieve their vision, “A world where everyone can determine their own future.””
Tsuyoshi Ito, CEO / MANAGING PARTNER
Beyond Next Ventures Inc.
“Beyond Next Ventures supports start-ups that strive for transformation of society utilizing technology with vision to create a world in which everyone can challenge. As an entrepreneur who founded the company in a similar financial field around the same time, I strongly empathize with Gojo’s grand vision “to create the Private Sector World Bank” and respect Taejun Shin, CEO who is making it happen in the world. We believe that his vision will materialize in the near future devising Gojo’s technology and group strategy.”
Ryu Muramatsu, Director, Founding Partner
GMO VenturePartners, Inc.
“An attempt called Gojo, an attempt to empower microfinance through scale. Moreover, Gojo’s essence as “a global social experiment from Japan,” solving poverty and revolutionizing peoples’ lives by delivering the greatest mobility of capital in human history to people around the world who really need but marginalized by utilizing the power of Japan’s capital markets and financial technology. As GMO Global Fintech Fund, our goal is to connect Fintech in Japan and the world. We are honored to participate in such an attempt as GMO Global Fintech Fund.”
About Gojo & Company
Gojo was founded to extend financial inclusion to everyone in the world beginning with the developing countries. Gojo encourages the formalization and growth of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises. Our long-term goal is to enable the provision of high-quality affordable financial services for 100+ million unserved and underserved people in 50+ countries by 2030. Six years since our establishment, we work in Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and India with USD 288 million gross loan portfolio, 4,800+ employees, serving more than 600,000 clients.
本最終クローズでは、既存株主である第一生命保険株式会社、株式会社丸井グループ、東京理科大学ベンチャーファンド(無限責任組合員：アストマックス・ファンド・マネジメント株式会社)からの追加出資に加え、新規投資家としてリコーリース株式会社、Beyond Next Ventures株式会社、GMO VenturePartners株式会社を含む複数の機関投資家及び個人投資家を新規投資家として迎え入れ、合計27.2億円を調達しました。
Beyond Next Venturesは”誰もが挑戦できる世界を作る”をVisionに掲げ、テクノロジーを活用し社会変革に挑戦するスタートアップに出資をしています。私も畑は違えども同じ金融のフィールドで同時期に創業した起業家として、五常・アンド・カンパニーが掲げる ”民間版の世界銀行を作る”という壮大な構想に強く共感し、世界を舞台に着実に実現する慎社長を心から尊敬しています。五常の有するテクノロジーとグループ戦略により、近い将来その構想が実現すると信じています。
GMO VenturePartners株式会社 取締役 / ファウンディングパートナー 村松 竜
Gojoという試み。マイクロファイナンスに規模による力を与える試み。しかしそれだけではない。その本質は、人類史上最大級の資本の流動性を、それが本当に必要だが届いていない世界の人達に、日本の資本市場・金融テクノロジーの力を使って届け、貧困問題を解決し生活に革新をもたらす「グローバルな日本発の社会実験」であると思っています。そのような試みに「日本と世界のFintechを繋ぐことが目的のGMO Global Fintech Fund」として参加させて頂くことが出来て大変光栄です。
TGVest Capital DC Cheng, Chairman TGVestは、グロースキャピタルのプライベートエクイティファンドとして、テクノロジーを応用して既存の産業に変革を起こす革新的な企業に関心を持っています。五常・アンド・カンパニーは、アジアでのプレゼンス強化とESGの実践を探求する我々にとって新たな1ページを開く注目すべき存在です。発展途上国で金融包摂を届けるという五常のミッションと、金融セクターの長年の課題を解決しようとする革新的なアプローチに当初から共感していました。五常は、マイクロファイナンスを再定義するような先駆者であると考えており、そのユニークなビジネスモデルと極めて大きな成長可能性が我々のポートフォリオにもたらす付加価値は計り知れないと考えています。
Successful completion of first-ever fundraising from international institutional investors as Gojo accelerates digital transformation
Gojo & Company, Inc. (“Gojo”) is pleased to announce the successful additional close of its ongoing Series D financing of USD 19 million as of September 14, 2020. Gojo has successfully globalized its investor base by welcoming two international institutional investors as its investors for the first time.
Welcoming international institutional investors with strong expertise in the tech space
TGVest Capital, Baillie Gifford, Future Venture Capital (CVC of East Japan Bank), and several individual investors joined as Gojo investors in this financing round.
TGVest Capital is an Asia-based technology-focused private equity fund specializing in buyout and growth capital investments in companies. Baillie Gifford is an independent investment partnership based in Scotland, UK, with USD 324 billion of assets under management (as at 30 June 2020). Gojo will drive further digital transformation at our group companies’ operations as we gain further confidence in our capabilities through investments from international investors having extensive investment experience in the tech space.
We will continue to work towards the final close of the Series D financing. The newly raised funds will be mainly used for further growth and digitalization of its existing group companies in Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and India apart from future expansion to new markets in Asia and Africa.
Comments from international investors:
TGVest Capital DC Cheng, Chairman "As a growth capital private equity fund, we are always interested in innovative businesses disrupting an industry with tech-enabled applications. Gojo represents a milestone in our quest to strengthen our Asian presence and ESG practice, and a truly remarkable one. Gojo’s mission to extend financial inclusion in less developed countries and its innovative approach to overcome long-existing industry bottlenecks have resonated with us from the beginning. We consider Gojo a pioneer in redefining the microfinance landscape and we believe its unique business model and tremendous growth potential make it an invaluable addition to our portfolio."
Baillie Gifford Praveen Kumar, Investment Manager (Japanese Equities) “As long-term growth investors, we look for fast growing and disruptive young businesses addressing a large growth opportunity and employing a unique or genuinely differentiated business model. Gojo ticks all of these boxes and hence we decided to make an investment. We also like Gojo’s vision of improving financial access across some of the world’s poorest nations through microfinance and other forms of affordable lending. It is quite rare to come across a commercial enterprise like Gojo whose sole raison d'être is the upliftment of the poor and we wish the management team at Gojo all the success in their future endeavours.”
Comments from Taejun Shin, Founder and CEO of Gojo:
“Under the travel restriction due to the impact of COVID-19, we had active discussions with TGVest and Baillie Gifford through a series of video conferences and in-depth due diligence processes. We believe the investments from sophisticated international institutional investors such as TGVest and Baillie Gifford indicates their trust in Gojo and confidence in Gojo’s growth potential. Despite the adverse economic environments, we have made many progress in our services with our technology team. We will keep working to extend financial service to the world.”
Accelerating digital transformation
Syam Nair, having previously worked at Visa and Mastercard in technology and digital leadership positions across the Asia Pacific region, joined as Gojo’s Chief Technology Officer in February to lead group’s digital transformation initiatives and technology team build-out. Gojo initiated digital transformation programs within all group companies to leverage digital technologies and business models enabling us to provide more convenient financial services to our clients.
Gojo launched the pilot of Digital Field Application (“DFA”) which was co-developed with MAXIMA, our group company in Cambodia aiming to accelerate digitalization and also reduce lead time in serving financial products to clients. The entire loan process, from registration to approval, was reduced to 40 minutes from what took days before. Gojo aims to deploy DFA that consists of a brand-new Android application that runs on tablets and sophisticated backend services in the group companies. An R&D team was newly formed to innovate and conceptualize new products for microfinance and their clients. The team is in the product ideation stage for many innovative concepts including digital savings and others.
Impact Measurement and Social Performance Management (SPM)
During the COVID-19 outbreak, Gojo shared SPM practices to be followed by group companies for client protection, such as rescheduling of loans and extending moratoriums on the collection of principal and interest.
Gojo released its first impact report in July, which reviews Gojo’s activities since the establishment. Gojo’s impact measurement team has also been planning the research design and operating model for a financial diaries project, which will give us insight into how clients use loans and manage their money. As a client-centric financial service provider, we strive to deliver better financial products and services to the clients so that we can support their goals.
About Gojo & Company
Gojo was founded to extend financial inclusion to everyone in the world beginning with the developing countries. Gojo encourages the formalization and growth of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises. Our long-term goal is to enable the provision of high-quality affordable financial services for 100+ million unserved and underserved people in 50+ countries by 2030. Six years since our establishment, we work in Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and India with USD 260 million gross loan portfolio, 3,400+ employees, serving more than 570,000 clients.
We are excited to announce the launch of our redesigned website!
Gojo has grown significantly over the past three years. We wanted a website that would keep pace with our growth, making it easier for users to learn about what we are doing. In addition to a beautiful new design, our new website includes much more information about our impact, what it's like to work at Gojo, and our approach to enabling financial inclusion.
We welcome any comments or feedback on our website.
About Gojo & Company Gojo was founded to extend financial inclusion to everyone in the world, starting with developing countries. Gojo encourages the formalization and growth of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises. Our long-term goal is to enable the provision of high-quality affordable financial services for 100+ million unserved and underserved people in 50+ countries by 2030. Six years since our establishment, we now work in Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and India with 3,400+ employees, serving more than 570,000 clients.
We are excited to announce that Gojo’s first impact report is now available on our website here.
Gojo’s mission is to extend financial inclusion to everyone. To achieve this, we aim to enable provision of high-quality financial services to more than 100 million unserved and underserved people in over 50 countries by 2030.
This report reviews our activities and impact from inception in July 2014 to March 2020 in light of our vision, mission and 2030 goal. In this report, we share key indicators, client stories, our future plans for impact measurement, and a review of our Social Performance Management activities, including social performance audit (SPI4) scores benchmarked against industry averages.
Starting from this year, Gojo will report annually on our impact. In future years, we hope to have even more data to share and to present new rigorous measures of progress towards our 2030 goal. As our CEO Taejun says in the report, “Impact is not at all on the periphery of our business. It is right in the center of everything we do.”
We hope you enjoy our impact report, and we welcome any feedback on it.
About Gojo & Company
Gojo was founded to extend financial inclusion to everyone in the world, starting with developing countries. Gojo encourages the formalization and growth of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises. Our long-term goal is to enable the provision of high-quality affordable financial services for 100+ million unserved and underserved people in 50+ countries by 2030. Six years since our establishment, we work in Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and India with 3,400+ employees, serving more than 570,000 clients.