Dealing With Senior Care Issues in India: Ratan Tata Invests in Start-up
NEW DELHI, (IANS) – Goodfellows, a young start-up that provides authentic meaningful companionship to seniors through young, educated graduates that are vetted intensely for empathy and emotional intelligence, was launched on August 17. It is a for-profit start-up based on the concept of intergenerational friendships.
A spokesperson said, “The start-up emphasizes 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. Tata’s investment in our venture further is a huge source of encouragement to our dedication to this concept.”
Commenting on the investment, Tata, Chairman, Emeritus of Tata Sons, said, “The bonds between the two generations created by Goodfellows are very meaningful and are helping to address an important social issue In India. I hope the investment helps the young team at Goodfellows grow.”
Over the past six months, the startup has taken time to complete a successful beta and will now be available in Mumbai with Pune, Chennai, and Bangalore as the next target cities. During the beta testing phase, it received positive response with over 800 applications from young graduates looking to be employed here, of which a shortlisted cohort of 20 provided companionship to the elderly in Mumbai.
According to the team, it has been a challenging but rewarding task to ensure that the “Goodfellows” bond with their Grandpals in an authentic and meaningful way and not just cosmetically. This requires several rounds of vetting and some in-house psychometric tests to choose the best graduates.
In terms of services offered, a Goodfellow does whatever a grandkid would do. There are 15 million elderlies in India living alone, either due to loss of a partner, or families moving away for unavoidable work reasons. While many of them have caregivers or start-ups for utilitarian needs such as e-commerce, the issue of loneliness or lack of company has been the primary reason for deteriorating mental and physical health.
In addition to this, Goodfellows also hosts monthly events curated to the enjoyment and engagement of the Grandpals who participate, making the bond deeper and enjoyable in a different environment. This allows the Grandpals to meet each other as well as more young graduates, building a sense of community.
The business model is a freemium subscription model. The first month is free with only the goal of having the Grandpal experience this service, since it’s hard to understand the concept without going through it. The second month onward is a small subscription fee that has been decided based on the limited affordability of pensioners.