Former Tata group chairman Ratan Tata on Tuesday announced an investment in India’s first companionship startup Goodfellows. The business mogul, who is known to invest in startups, did not disclose his stake at the company founded by his assistant Shantanu Naidu. Goodfellows provides authentic meaningful companionship to seniors through young, educated graduates that are vetted intensely for empathy and emotional intelligence.
Commenting on his investment, Ratan Tata, the 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.”
According to the team, it has been a challenging but rewarding task to ensure that the “Goodfellows” bond with their Grandpals, who have subscribed to the service, 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.
What Does Goodfellows Do?
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 ecommerce, the issue of loneliness or lack of company has been the primary reason for deteriorating mental and physical health. Senior citizens can avail the services by signing-up on thegoodfellows.in or can give a missed call at +91 8779524307 or check out their Instagram handle.
Over the past six months, the company has taken the time to complete a successful beta run and its services will now be available in Mumbai with Pune, Chennai and Bangalore as the next target cities. During the beta testing phase, Goodfellows received a positive response with over 800 applications from young graduates looking to be employed at Goodfellows of which a shortlisted cohort of 20 provided companionship to the elderly in Mumbai.
In addition to this, Goodfellows also hosts monthly events curated to the enjoyment and engagement of the Grandpals who participate with their Goodfellows, 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.
How Does Goodfellows Work?
The business model of Goodfellows 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 actually going through it. The second month onward is a small subscription fee that has been decided based on the limited affordability of pensioners, as per the company.
The major percentage of funds from investors are currently geared towards scaling up the goodfellow human capital, which is a slow process since empathy cannot be vetted quickly or by the traditional recruiting process.