Meet Watsi, Y-Combinator's first nonprofit company

By Richard Nieva , written on January 25, 2013

From The News Desk

By now, it’s clear that crowdfunding is all the rage. Many of the VCs I’ve talked to have praised sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo for their ability to help people drum up attention and capital for worthwhile companies and projects. But what about things that are more than “worthwhile?” What about life or death?

With that, Y-Combinator announced today that the incubator is funding its very first nonprofit company. Watsi allows users to browse the profiles of different people in need of medical treatments, and allows them to donate as little as $5 to help cover the costs. Each profile has a percentage bar so you can see the progress of the money raising efforts. It’s crowdfunding in the most literal sense of the newly made up word. And it’s charity at its most digitally efficient. After sending a donation, you can opt to get updates to see how the beneficiary is doing.

Paul Graham, YC’s founder, seems palpably excited about the venture. “After about 30 seconds of looking at the site, I realized I was looking at one of the more revolutionary things I'd seen the Internet used for,” he said on his blog.