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Announcing Our $3.5M Philanthropic Growth Round (watsi.org)
160 points by saltvedt on Nov 4, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 20 comments

It is hard not to be overwhelmed by such sadness. I feel, the list of patients shouldn't be so sad. There should be, at the right, a panel of patients who have been treated, to make it more upbeat. And the goal, is to make patients from the left go to the right. I hope you see what I mean. If it was less depressing, we wouldn't shut out from the cause, from so much pain to deal with. Because as it is, to help it means to accept there is so much pain in the world. Whereas if we see also the treated patients, then we know at the same time that there is help too, and it isn't so bad, so the reason doesn't shut out. This is only my opinion. Maybe it works better like that. (edit: nevermind, I saw there are fully funded people at the bottom. I feel like a fool, now.)

Hey there. I see you've added an edit but I still thought I might be able to add something.

I'm currently a Universal Fund[0] member on Watsi and I've found it to be a very positive experience. Instead of feeling like I'm making a hard decision between treatments for many sick people I just give a set monthly amount and then each month I receive an upbeat email letting me know which patient received my funding.

I also like that my Watsi profile page shows me how many different countries my donations have reached.

[0]: https://watsi.org/universal-fund

Awesome news, congrats team. For any Watsi folks here, do you all have any plans for more development-type work for the long term, or are you more focused on providing immediate relief as you are now?

If by development work you mean system level change, yes. The WHO reports that up to 40% of healthcare funding (~$2.75T) is lost to inefficiency and corruption. This is in part due to the fact that it was historically challenging to get money to healthcare providers in low income countries and even harder to collect data about how the money was used. Long term, we plan for our technology to enable not only individual donors, but foundations and governments to fund healthcare more efficiently. We're trying to bring healthcare funding online. And if we succeed, it could impact patients everywhere regardless of their condition or the type of care they need.

Thanks for posting here Chase!

What do you see as the biggest challenges Watsi faces?

Distribution. We're building a good organization, but not enough people know about it.

I finally signed up. I really like the Universal Fund option – I found the prospect of choosing between many deserving people very daunting. Thanks for building Watsi!

So just a question and this probably is stupid. But what to investors expect to gain from an investment into a nonprofit? Are the expecting to get their money back somehow? Are they expecting to get more than the money they invested back, and if so where would that come from? Or is it basically equivalent to a large charitable donation they are making, where none of their investments will ever come back to them in monetary form?

They're donations.

Out of curiosity, do these major donors receive partial control over Watsi in return? If so, what's the mechanism for that? Board seats?

Most of our funders don't receive anything in return. They just want to help Watsi scale. That said, many of them serve as informal advisors to us.

So far, we've asked two of our funders to sit on our board (alongside Premal Shah of Kiva): Paul Graham, and Christy Chin of Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation.

Thanks for the explanation. Congrats on the fundraise!

Happy to see crowdfunding being used for great causes. Brilliant stuff!

congrats ya'll, what happened in the past couple months to spike the number of patients funded? Would love to hear more about 'growth hacking' a charity like this.

Thank you! It's been a combination of 2 things: 1) building tools that make it easier for our hospital partners to scale with us more efficiently, thereby increasing their capacity to send us more patients, and 2) product/marketing.

If you're interested in the growth side of Watsi, we opened up a bunch of our data to Segment earlier this year, and they put out this post about the growth learnings they gathered: https://segment.com/blog/what-we-learned-from-watsis-data/

We also talked with First Round a few months ago about how we use email marketing to grow donations: http://firstround.com/review/what-startups-can-learn-from-wa...

Hopefully we'll be able to share more learnings in the next couple of months!

Awesome, have you guys considered open sourcing your software? Maybe you could get donations in terms of OSS contributions to help build your technical infrastructure.

Yes, we have plans to open source our software in the future. Stay tuned!

Watsi rules!


Very exciting.

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