New Age Old Age

A new Indian startup aims to be a companion to senior citizens

Mumbai-based Goodfellows is backed by Ratan Tata and plans to launch travel company services too.
But will it work? 
But will it work? 
Image: Goodfellows
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This Goodfellows ain’t Scorsese’s Goodfellas. This one’s for the good ol’ fellows.

A startup launched yesterday (Aug.16) and backed by 84-year-old Indian industrialist Ratan Tata, Mumbai-based Goodfellows looks to extend a warm hand towards the elderly.

It aims to provide companionship in the sunset of their lives through “intergenerational friendships.” The startup will appoint young graduates, who will assist senior citizens, “similar to what a grandkid would do.” These young personnel will be known as goodfellows.

Hearteningly, it is a 30-year-old Cornell University-educated man who’s taken the initiative on this front. Shantanu Naidu is also an employee of the Tatas.

“The start-up emphasises that companionship means different things to different people. To some, it may mean watching a movie, narrating stories from the past... and we are here to accommodate it all... Mr. Tata’s investment in our venture further is a huge source of encouragement to our dedication to this concept,” Naidu said during his company launch.

The working model of Goodfellows

The startup will have a freemium subscription model: Senior citizens will get to experience its services absolutely free for a month. Charges kick in from the second month.

“The subscription fee will be based on a personalised plan,” the company website says. Justifying the fees, it says its young employees must also feel financially secure.

Goodfellows is focusing considerably on scaling up its human capital. Growth here will remain slow since “empathy cannot be vetted quickly or by the traditional recruiting process.”

Ratan Tata’s investment share, however, hasn’t been revealed. His enthusiasm for the initiative was clear when at the launch he said, “You do not know what it is like to be lonely until you spend time alone wishing for companionship.”

Available services for Goodfellows

Initially, the company plans to operate in Mumbai. But will eventually expand its operations to Pune, Chennai, and Bengaluru. Interested people can sign up on or give a missed call on +91 8779524307.

The company also plans to offer travel companions for seniors holding back from making trips due to a lack of security or company.