In an effort to promote intergenerational connections, industrialist Ratan Tata founded Goodfellows, India’s senior companionship startup.
The Goodfellows startup was started by Cornell University MBA Shantanu Naidu. The 28-year-old, who works as a General Manager at Mr. Tata’s office, is a member of his family’s fifth generation of Tata Group employees.
“You do not know what it is like to be lonely until you spend time alone yearning for friendship,” Ratan Tata said at the Goodfellows inauguration.
Young graduates are hired by the startup as “Goodfellows,” who assist the elderly and provide companionship “as a grandkid would.”
With 15 million elderly people in India living alone, many of them have caregivers but the problem of loneliness or lack of company has been the main cause of declining mental and physical health. This may be because of the loss of a partner or because families moved away for unavoidable work reasons.
Goodfellows uses a freemium subscription model as its business model. Since it’s difficult to comprehend the notion without actually experiencing it, the first month is provided for free with the intention that the elderly citizen will use the service. Based on the limited affordability of retirees, a low subscription cost has been established starting in the second month.
Shantanu Naidu remarked: “The company emphasises that different people have varied definitions of camaraderie. We can accommodate all of it, whether it means for you to watch a movie, share old tales, go for a walk, or simply spend quiet time together while doing nothing. In its beta stage, we learned how naturally the Grandpals and Goodfellows connected. Our commitment to this idea is greatly bolstered by Mr. Tata’s additional investment in our business.”
Speaking about the model, the startup claimed that a subscription model ensures that once the senior citizens and their companions develop a strong bond, they will not keep switching out the graduate who visits them because this does not give them enough time or emotional attention to create a true bond. “When we make friends, we want to hang out with them frequently. This can be avoided by using a different person each time “the business clarified.
Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, commented on the investment and said “The relationships that Goodfellows has forged between the two generations are deeply significant and are assisting India in addressing a significant societal issue. I’m hoping the funding spurs the growth of the fledgling Goodfellows team.”
Future goals for Goodfellows include expanding its services to include people with disabilities who face comparable or greater obstacles, as well as providing travel companions for seniors who are delaying travel due to a lack of security or company.