YC Will Now Fund Nonprofits Too

By Paul Graham · September 2013

We're happy to announce that we're going to start including nonprofits in every YC batch.

We'd been thinking about this for a while. We had a hypothesis that many newly founded nonprofits could benefit from the same techniques we use to help startups. We tested this with Watsi in the Winter 2013 batch and it worked wonderfully. They did all the same things as the other startups, including present at Demo Day (which is after all a room with lots of rich people in it).

Since some people were confused when we funded Watsi, I'd better clarify that the money we're putting into the nonprofits will be a charitable donation, rather than an investment in the narrow sense. We won't have any financial interest in them.

We don't know how many nonprofits we'll fund, or what type of ideas we'll like. We like Watsi a lot, because they help people who really need help, and do it in an efficient and transparent way. But fundamentally this is an experiment, just like YC itself was at first. So we don't want to tell people too precisely what we're looking for, because we're not sure yet what we're looking for.