Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao
GoJo & Company
Taejun Shin may be considered an over-achiever. Alongside his business ventures, he has written nine books about finance and child welfare, has a black belt in karate, is a sixth dan at Chinese board game Go, and has run a 1,648-km ultramarathon.
His main passion, though, is in micro-investments.
Shin founded GoJo & Co. in 2014 with the intention of providing better financial access across the developing world. The company works with microfinance institutions (MFIs) and provides them with the funds and support they need to formalize and expand their businesses.
"We work to extend financial inclusion to the ordinary low-income households in developing nations. 30-40% of them are illiterate. Many technologists push Fintech ignoring the realities. To create a true impact through tech-enabled microfinance, we have to design services which even our grandmothers can use," Taejun told Business Insider.
GoJo & Co. works with MFIs in India, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka, providing finance for more than 400,000 people.
In June, the company invested an additional $3.7 million into Aviom India Housing Finance, which provides affordable housing loans to low-income families. It was GoJo’s third India-based investment in 2020.
Unsurprisingly, given his extensive résumé, GoJo wasn’t Shin’s first enterprise. In 2007, he founded an NGO Living in Peace, which aimed to alleviate poverty by providing equal opportunities. Two years later, he launched Japan’s first microfinance investment fund. Before this, he managed private-equity investments at Morgan Stanley and Unison.