The startup Goodfellows made it to the news and to many people's hearts for its noble idea of providing companionship as a service to senior citizens who suffer from loneliness in their old age. The initiative was introduced by Shantanu Naidu, an MBA graduate from Cornell University who has been closely working with the Tata group for years now. Backing the initiative by their employee was the former chairman of the Tata Group, Ratan Tata, who announced that he would be actively investing in the startup.
Shantanu Naidu had also founded the initiative 'Motopaws', which worked towards innovation and design of circuits that would lower the cases of human-animal accidents caused in the country. This initiative was also funded by Ratan Tata, who had shared the founder's compassion for the strays.
Goodfellows And Its Distinctive Take Toward Health Of The Elderly
The founder of the startup, Shantanu, mentioned that there are over 50 million senior citizens who are living by themselves and have no one to share their lives with. This sense of loneliness occurs among many elderly due to the loss of a partner/friends, families migrating away, or even them relocating to far locations for work-related reasons. This lack of company takes a toll on their mental and physical health, which the startup attempts to address.
Shantanu said that the startup understands that companionship means different things to different people, and they hope to build a connection that accommodates these differential requirements as well. So for some, while the company offers companionship in the form of watching a movie or going on a walk together, it could offer the service of simply sitting around together and doing nothing as well. All these were deduced within the beta phase of the project, which attempted to organically understand how the elderly bonded with the youngsters from the Goodfellows.
As per Live Mint, the company has been able to work with 20 elders in Mumbai within six months of its launch and will be considering expanding to other cities of Pune, Chennai, and Bangalore, based on its viability. The founder has stated that the company would scale up gradually without placing the quality of the services offered at stake. Ratan Tata's investment has proven to be an encouraging aspect toward reaching this goal, and the team will be taking it ahead with utmost dedication.
"Similar To What A Grandkid Would Do"
Goodfellows has been mindful about the youngsters they choose for the project and has hired those who exhibit skills of empathy and emotional intelligence to work as companions for senior citizens. These youngsters would also ensure that the elderly are able to handle their day with ease and would assist them with their tasks if required. In short, Goodfellows provides companionship to the senior citizens in a way "similar to what a grandkid would do".
Ratan Tata praised the initiative during its launch, saying, "You do not know what it is like to be lonely until you spend time alone wishing for companionship". He believes that the startup would be able to provide good-natured companionship, which is challenging to find for the older.
The business model of Goodfellows is set in a freemium subscription model that provides free services for the first month to have the senior citizen familiarise themselves with the concept and opt for it later if they find it helpful. A small subscription fee would be derived, starting from the second month, on the basis of the limited affordability of the pensioners.
The startup has also suggested a future plan of providing companionship for the seniors who hold back from making trips due to concerns relating to lack of security, company, and so on.
Also Read: This Pune-Based Startup Tries To Reduce Carbon Emissions, Offers Doorstep Delivery Of Diesel On Mobile Petrol Pumps