Start-up GoodFellows gets back up from Ratan Tata

Tata Sons’ chairman emeritus Ratan N Tata

By Rajesh Kurup

Tata Sons’ chairman emeritus Ratan N Tata has backed yet another start-up, this time one that provides inter-generational friendship and calls itself a “companionship company”.

Incidentally, the start-up – GoodFellows – has been founded by Shantanu Naidu, who is currently Ratan Tata’s business assistant.

GoodFellows, which is in a beta testing phase now, intends to recruit graduates under 30 years of age to provide companionship to elderly people. The graduates, called “Goodfellows”, would provide a friendship to the elderly and go along for walks, help them with grocery shopping, accompany them to doctors and teach them technology among others, Naidu said.

They would also help the elderly with paperwork and e-mails, or simply spend time with the ‘Grandpals’, he said, adding, GoodFellows intends to employ young graduates.

The for-profit start-up would begin commercial operations in January. Once launched, GoodFellows will charge a monthly subscription.

“Intergenerational friendships are a kind, meaningful and authentic way to help the elderly living alone with companionship and warmth in the way that GoodFellows is offering. I am keen to see how GoodFellows progresses and wish Shantanu and his young team all the very best,” Tata said in an emailed statement.

However, the quantum of investment being made by Ratan Tata into the company could not be immediately ascertained.

Ratan Tata provided funds or backed nearly 50 start-ups such as Airbnb, Bombay Hemp Company, Bluestone, Goquii, Ikure, Nestaway, Paytm and Ola Electric among others. He had also exited from two ventures — Lenskart and Urban ladder – while a couple of them became Unicorns, a term for a start-up valued at $1 billion and more.

Ratan Tata is a philanthropist and continues to head the group’s charitable trusts. In his capacity, he has been investing or supporting firms with philanthropic causes ranging from electric vehicles to healthcare and mobility.

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