Photo courtesy of

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"What's different about building a successful for-profit and nonprofit startup?

Not much, according to Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator, an elite accelerator program in Mountain View, Calif., that accepted a nonprofit for the first time this month, "You could never tell there was a nonprofit mixed in," he said in a phone interview on Friday."

The article Nonprofit Startups Are Just Like Their Counterparts delves into the mindset that a lot of the advice you could give a corporate startup translate over to a nonprofit startup. 

In the article, Paul Graham says: "[I] began thinking about inviting nonprofits to join Y Combinator about a year ago. "I was talking to a friend who wanted to do a nonprofit project and I realized I was giving exactly the same advice I'd be giving to a startup," he said.

"Startups that get accepted into Y Combinator typically receive $20,000 in seed capital in exchange for an equity stake of about 7%. Watsi, a 501C(3), only accepted the funding. If this was a [for-profit] startup, they would have their pick of investors. They're going to present to Demo Day. A lot of people in that room are rich."

The corporate missions may be different but the foundations are the same. Nonprofits need close looks when it comes to investments. Technology and business are changing and we need to make sure we keep Nonprofts along with us.