Ratan Tata Launches ‘Companionship’ Startup For Senior Citizens, Calls It ‘Goodfellows’

There are as many as 18 million homeless senior citizens in India, and the number is only increasing due to multiple factors.

According to the Longitudinal Ageing survey of India 2020, almost 5 percent of people aged 60 years and above faced some kind of abuse from their family members.

The report further added that the elderly population in the country is set to rise to 20 percent by the year 2050. This is a clear indication that the well-being of senior citizens in India will become a serious concern for society. 

In order to solve parts of the problem, business tycoon Ratan Tata has launched India’s first companionship startup for senior citizens which will provide them with ‘companions’ just like a grandkid would do. 

Tata’s initiative has come into play to encourage intergenerational friendships in the country among the younger generation and senior citizens. 

The founder of the startup, Shantanu Naidu, is an MBA from Cornell University. The 28-year-old is a General Manager at Mr Tata’s office and is also a fifth generation Tata Group employee. 

According to an NDTV report, Mr Tata said, “You do not know what it is like to be lonely until you spend time alone wishing for companionship.”

The report further explained that the startup appoints young graduates, also known as ‘Goodfellows’, who help in assisting the senior citizens and provide companionship to them.

The whole agenda of the startup is to bring someone who would be as good as a grandkid to the senior citizen. 

While enough caregivers are available at a cost, companionship for senior citizens is still a matter of concern, and Goodfellows aims to solve that problem. 

The startup follows a freemium subscription model. Now, what does that mean?

A freemium subscription model offers the first month free of cost to make the subscribers understand the services available. The startup will charge its subscribers from the next month based on the affordability of the senior citizens. 

Shantanu Naidu said, "The start-up emphasises that companionship means different things to different people. To some, it may mean watching a movie, narrating stories from the past, going on a walk or having quiet company sitting around doing nothing together, and we are here to accommodate it all. In its beta phase, we discovered how organically the Grandpals bonded with the Goodfellows. Mr Tata's investment in our venture further is a huge source of encouragement to our dedication to this concept."

 The startup will also aim to provide senior citizens with travel companions since most of them fail to go on trips due to lack of security or loneliness. The company will also extend its services to the elderly who have disabilities.