Ratan Tata Backs Companionship Startup For Senior Citizens Goodfellows

The startup plans to expand the project within Mumbai ad to Pune, Chennai and Bangalore and, will also offer travel companionship to senior citizens who hesitate to take trips because of the insecure feeling or lack of company

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Industry leader Ratan Tata, on Tuesday, announced a undisclosed amount of investment in Goodfellows, a startup that offers companionship to senior citizens as a service. The startup was founded by Shantanu Naidu, a close mentee of Tata and a general manager in his office.

Ratan Tata Twitter handle

"You do not know what it is like to be lonely until you spend time alone wishing for companionship. No one minds getting old till you actually get old. Getting a good natured companionship, which we take for granted, is a challenge," said Tata in a statement.

Naidu addressed Tata as a boss, mentor and a friend. He also said that there are 50 million elders who are alone. "The startup hires young graduates with the right empathy and emotional intelligence skills to 'work' as the senior citizen clients' companions and ease the day for them with any tasks or just talk with them," said Naidu.

As per reports, Goodfellows was formally launched in Mumbai and has successfully completed a 'Beta Phase' over the past six months. Around 20 carefully-vetted young fellows were on-boarded and paired them with grandpals from Mumbai. As per Naidu's statement, the startup plans to expand the project within Mumbai ad to Pune, Chennai and Bangalore. It will also offer travel companionship to senior citizens who hesitate to take trips because of the insecure feeling or lack of company.

"I salute this effort that gives one's time and effort to make another person's happiness more secure, without expecting anything in return. I salute the fellows who are doing this, but don't have to do it. A group of young and intelligent young people who could do other things for themselves," said Tata, during the launch of the startup.

As per reports, for the programme's Beta Phase, the startup received 800 applicants from young graduates, out of which 20 were shortlisted. The applicants were carefully vetted with a in-house psychometric test for empathy, kindness and reliability. The team also conducts background checks of applicants and police verification of the finalists.