Depends exactly what you mean by it, but there do seem to be beneficial projects that are best organized as for-profit companies. For example, I doubt a nonprofit would have done as good a job at search or email as Google has.
Being a not-for-profit company doesn't mean you can't generate revenue / profit and therefore be unable to pay for R&D; I suppose Google couldn't have IPO'd then to fundraise a large amount quickly, so there is that.. What Google had and was important though was a core technology and philosophy of the founders, who then with the additional money were able to take the time to develop and evolve a solid company direction and culture.
Contradictory goals? Saving the world generally means selfless work for the common good. Startup generally means creating a new business with the goal of making yourself rich. (I know that will piss a lot of people off.)
But if your goal of saving the world works out, you'll get rich on the speaking fees.