Ratan Tata Launches Companionship Startup For Seniors, Says ‘You Don’t Know What It’s Like To Be Lonely!’ – Tech

That was a really heart wrenching, gut punching and soul crushing remark by the octogenarian industrialist. Young at heart, the ageing veteran has nothing but inspired zest and zunoon amongst the bubbling generation of India’s youngistan. Ratan Naval Tata (84) is a rare gem of a maverick leader carrying the baton of Tata’s impeccable legacy that has only made India stand tall among the giants. The veteran has been conferred India’s highest civilian awards – Padma Bhushan (2000) and Padma Vibhushan (2008). His stewardship of the Tata ever since he chaired the company is a testament to Ratan’s business acumen, integrity, tech excellence and chief of all his immense generosity, that is visible across all the Tata philanthropies. But even a Tata with the world at their disposal couldn’t help but feel the cold claws of loneliness sting. The grim loneliness comes for all! In a recent event in Mumbai, where Ratan Tata announced investment in ‘Goodfellows’ a startup for the senior citizens, he quipped

You don’t know what it’s like to be lonely until you spent time alone. . .wishing for companionship!

The rest of his speech was heartwarming to the least while occasionally pulling his young manager Shantanu Naidu’s legs. Tata is quite fond of the young enterprising lad. Their friendship began when he bumped into Shantanu’s initiative for strays in Aamchi Mumbai. The Cornell grad has now established Goodfellows, a startup backed by the Tatas to reach seniors with companionship. Young graduates can become empathetic ‘goodfellows’ who like spending time with the elderly, especially the ones who are either abandoned or deprived of grandkids. It’s just good ol’ lending ear over a cuppa chai with cookies, playing carrom (or ludo) or watching a goofy show on the telly. The ‘goodfellows’ will not only provide company to the ageing ‘grandpal’ but accompany them running errands and visiting a doc or even shopping.

The brainchild behind the ‘goodfellows’ Shantanu shared that there are over 50 million elderly who go about their day all by themselves. Goodfellows has already been functioning with 20 ‘grandpals’ in its beta phase in Mumbai for the past 6 months. The company will scale soon to various parts of the country. Shantanu writes in Linkedin that A very long road ahead, but we’ll see it through!

Before you leave, here’s Tata with Slash while he was buying his Jaguar. Rock on Ratan.