Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, announced to invest into startup firm Goodfellows, which provides companionship to elderly people. Ratan Tata has been investing in or supporting startups actively ever since he retired from the helm of the salt-to-software Tata Group. Goodfellows was founded by Shantanu Naidu, who happened to be Ratan Tata’s business assistant. The 25-year old Naidu is Cornell University-educated and is a general manager in Tata’s office and has been assisting Tata since 2018. He shares Tata’s love for dogs and strays, and had previously started a venture for pets as well.
Ratan Tata said no one minds getting old till you actually get old, adding that getting a good-natured companionship, which one takes for granted, is a challenge, news agency PTI quoted. “You do not know what it is like to be lonely until you spend time alone wishing for companionship,” Ratan N Tata said. Goodfellows hires young graduates to offer companionship to senior citizens as a service. These graduates possess the right skills of empathy and emotional intelligence to work as the senior citizen clients’ companions, and ease the day for them with any tasks or just talk with them.
For the last six months, Goodfellows has been working with 20 elders in its beta phase in Mumbai. It is planning to offer services in Pune, Chennai and Bengaluru in the next phase. Shantanu Naidu intends to scale up the services across the country. Naidu’s experience till now has suggested that the companions do a myriad of tasks with the clients, including playing carrom, reading the newspaper for them or even taking naps together. Naidu said that it is difficult to fabricate the bond between an elder and a grandchild, but added that the firm would ensure that the authentic bonds can be formed.
It may be noted that 66 per cent of the equity share capital of Tata Sons is held by philanthropic trusts, which support education, health, livelihood generation and art and culture. There are 29 publicly-listed Tata enterprises with a combined market capitalisation of $314 billion (Rs 23.4 trillion) as of December 31, 2021. Companies include Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Motors Tata Steel, Tata Chemicals, Tata Consumer Products, Titan, Tata Capital, Tata Power, Indian Hotels, Tata Communications, Tata Digital, and Tata Electronics.