Ratan Tata Backs 'Goodfellows' Startup That Helps Elderly Find Companionship
At the helm of Goodfellows is Shantanu Naidu, a Cornell University alumnus & general manager in Ratan Tata's office.
The Quint DAILY
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Industrialist Ratan Tata on Tuesday, 16 August, announced an investment in a startup called 'Goodfellows' that pairs senior citizens with young graduates in the form of "meaningful relationships." However, the amount of the investment has not been disclosed.
Goodfellows promotes "intergenerational" friendships. At the launch of the event, Tata said, "You do not know what it is like to be lonely until you spend time alone wishing for companionship."
He added that no one minds getting old till you actually get old, and also said that getting good-natured companionship, which we take for granted, is a challenge.
Goodfellows is Naidu's fourth entrepreneurial venture. He had previously started a venture for pets – Motopaws – that provided reflective collars for street dogs as well. Motopaws was also backed by Tata in the initial stages, as per reports.
More About 'Goodfellows'
Shantanu Naidu told PTI that he has developed a model with the help of psychologists to select the right candidate to act as a companion for a senior citizen. He said he wants to scale up across the country but would prefer to go slow without compromising on the quality of the companions Goodfellows hires.
The company hires young graduates having the right skills of empathy and emotional intelligence to 'work' as the senior citizen clients' companions, and ease the day for them with any tasks or just talk with them.
The company claimed that it received more than 800 applications from young graduates who wanted to work as companions to the elderly, according to LiveMint.
Typically, a companion would visit a client three times a week, spending up to four hours per visit.
In a year's time, the company plans to have 100 registered companions serving about 350-400 senior citizens across the country, Naidu said, stressing that unlike a conventional startup, which has milestones, Goodfellows will not be chasing business targets as hard till it is able to make the desired social impact.
According to the 2011 Census, the country has around 104 million elderly people. The numbers are anticipated to have grown by now. Naidu said there are 15 million elders who are by themselves right now, which represents the opportunity for his newest venture.
(With inputs from PTI and Livemint.)
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