A new startup that seeks to be a companion to the elderly people has been launched in India. The company, called Goodfellows, is being backed by Ratan Tata.
Goodfellows, a Mumbai-based startup founded on August 16 and backed by 84-year-old Indian industrialist Ratan Tata, aims to reach out to the elderly. Through “intergenerational friendships,” it hopes to provide companionship in the sunset of their lives.
The startup will hire recent graduates to assist senior citizens “in the same way that a grandchild would.” These young soldiers will be referred to as goodfellows.
Fortunately, a 30-year-old Cornell University graduate has taken the lead on this front.
Shantanu Naidu is also a Tata employee. “The company emphasises that companionship can mean different things to different people.”
To some, it may mean watching a movie or retelling old stories… and we are here to accommodate it all…
Mr. Tata’s investment in our venture is also a huge source of encouragement for our commitment to this concept,” Naidu said at the company’s launch.
The startup will use a freemium subscription model, which means that senior citizens will be able to try out its services for free for a month. Charges begin in the second month.
“The subscription fee will be based on a personalised plan,” according to the company website.
It justifies the fees by stating that its young employees must also feel financially secure. Goodfellows is putting a lot of effort into growing its human capital. Growth will be slow because “empathy cannot be vetted quickly or through the traditional recruiting process.”
However, Ratan Tata’s investment stake has not been disclosed. At the launch, he expressed his enthusiasm for the initiative, saying, “You don’t know what it’s like to be lonely until you spend time alone wishing for companionship.”