Non-Profit Watsi Nets $1.2 Million for Crowdfunding Platform to Help Pay For Medical Treatments

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New York City-based non-profit Watsi raises $1.2 million in a “philanthropic” seed round. Watsi is a Y-Combinator startup, and contributors to the round included Y-Combinator founder Paul Graham, and Y-Combinator partner Geoff Ralston. Additional funds were provided by Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Khosla Ventures, famed angel investor Ron Conway, and Rotten Tomatoes CEO Joe Greenstein.

Funding is traditionally much more difficult to raise for a non-profit startup. Y-Combinator had never accepted a non-profit startup before Watsi, and a $1.2 million funding round so early is almost unheard of for a non-profit. In the case of Watsi, the buzz has stemmed from the direct and elegant way they have applied technology to address a need in global healthcare.

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Watsi has created a crowdfunding platform that raises money for patients from third-world countries in need of medical procedures that they are unable to pay for. Potential patient profiles are submitted from across the globe and are screened for patients who need a small investment to pay for a procedure that will make a significant difference in their quality of life. Accepted patients are published to the Watsi crowdfunding platform with both a picture, a description of the procedure needed, and the amount needed to pay for the procedure. Campaigns on Watsi never expire, meaning that they will go on until the procedure is funded. The goal of Watsi is to raise funds for low-cost, high-impact medical procedures. The startup spends 100 percent of donated funds directly on the patient’s care. Overhead costs are covered independently, through charitable contributions.

The new funding will be used to continue covering overhead costs while the organization finds a way of creating a revenue stream that will allow it to operate in a financially independent state.

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