Elsewhere online
November 06, 2015

Nonprofit Crowdfunding Site Watsi Takes Cues From Silicon Valley

An article in Entrepreneur magazine highlights the nonprofit Watsi, a crowdfunding site that "operates more like a technology start-up."

Watsi, a crowdfunding platform that allows donors to support people with medical expenses in the developing world, raised $3.5 million in start-up funding from foundations and philanthropists and has recruited some big-name engineers from groups like NASA and Microsoft. Chase Adam, Watsi's founder, said the group wanted to raise a large amount of money upfront instead of constantly fundraising, as many nonprofits do. In addition, the group requires that at least half of its staff know how to write computer-programming code.

In 2013, Watsi became the first nonprofit accepted by the Bay Area start-up accelerator Y Combinator. Borrowing a phrase from Silicon Valley, the nonprofit is committed to "radical transparency," posting its monthly financial statement — including staff salaries — on its website.