Nov 17, 2014 Reetta Heiskanen
Chase Adam has always thought that health care is extremely important. But it wasn’t until he met a woman in Costa Rica who was raising money to pay for her son’s medical care that he decided to focus on it full-time.
“While serving in the Peace Corps in Central America, a woman boarded a bus I was on and asked for donations to pay for her son’s health care. She inspired me to start Watsi, and name it after the town I was traveling through at the time”, Adam describes.
Watsi lets people donate as little as $5 toward low-cost, high-impact medical treatment for patients in third-world countries. The procedures range from relatively simple ones like fixing a broken limb to more complicated surgery.
The profiles of the patients are posted on the Watsi site, and the online community begins donating. According to Adam, medical care is given when the health partners decide that it is “medically appropriate”.
Watsi is the first non-profit to receive funding from Y-Combinator. According to Adam, the Y-Combinator program was a really important experience. “During the program I really learned to talk and listen to the users of Watsi”, Adam reflects.
Adam thinks that the hardest part while building a non-profit company has been to learn the skill of prioritization.
“If you’re always working on the most important thing, it’s very hard to fail. The problem is that it’s often very hard to know what’s most important thing. I’m still not an expert at this, so I don’t know that I have great advice for other founders except to always ask the question: why”, Adam reflects.
According to Adam it is simple to have an influence on the society and the well-being of human beings if you just keep one thing in mind.
“You just have to search for something that matters to you more than you yourself”, Adam describes.
Chase Adam is coming to Slush 2014 to give a talk about non-profit startups and he has a lot of expectations for the event.
“I’m expecting to learn alongside inspiring people at Slush 2014″, he reflects.
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