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Why New Relic

Provides one pane of glass to monitor and visualize end-to-end application performance in hosted, Platform as a Service (PaaS) environment.

  • Provides detailed insight for optimizing performance and user experience of funding platform hosted on Heroku PaaS service
  • Identifies geographic performance issues and their root cause
  • Helps developers deliver more robust and stabile technology for geographies with less reliable and speedy Internet service

Watsi Creates Technology to Fund Life-Changing Medical Treatments for People around the World

Founded in 2012, Watsi is a global crowdfunding platform that enables anyone to donate as little as $5 to directly fund life-changing healthcare for people around the world. With its operating expenses covered separately by foundations, philanthropists, and donors who leave an optional tip during checkout, 100 percent of every donation made on Watsi directly funds healthcare for patients who need it. Since Watsi’s founding, more than 14,000 donors in 20 countries have contributed more than $5 million to fund 170 different procedures for more than 5,500 patients.

Spreading the word through technology

According to Watsi’s founder and chief executive officer, Chase Adam, there are 1.5 billion people around the globe who can’t access basic healthcare. As a non-profit, crowdfunding platform, Watsi’s mission is to fund healthcare for those who can’t afford it by using technology to connect people. From surgery to remove brain tumors, to treatment for cancer, to sight-restoring cataract procedures, the small team at Watsi uses its software platform to connect donors, healthcare organizations, and patients for low-cost, high-impact healthcare. “We face two big challenges that technology can help us address,” says Adam. “The first is that our growth comes from word of mouth, and second, hospitals and clinics in the developing world need a way to scale more efficiently and effectively.” Watsi is tackling those challenges by creating software that both facilitates word-of-mouth conversations and makes it easier for administrators at hospitals to upload patient information and manage patient care.

Watsi can only be successful if the technology solutions it creates are available and easy to use by the people who need and want to use it—a major challenge in developing countries. Thomas Bukowski, lead developer at Watsi explains: “Our software must be solid and robust because in developing countries, they don’t have amazingly fast and reliable Internet connections. We always have to consider edge cases such as ‘what if the Internet is down for several days? How can we still make this work?’”

"New Relic makes it possible to build software that our users love."

Chase Adam Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Watsi

Tracking down problems around the world with New Relic

Initially, Watsi used a number of different monitoring tools and services to track the availability of its crowdfunding platform. However, none of the tools provided the level of visibility into application performance and customer experience that was needed to pinpoint problem areas anywhere in the technology stack and fix them quickly.

That all changed once Watsi started using New Relic® APM™ and New Relic Browser™. Now, no matter where the Watsi platform is being used in the world, the team at Watsi headquarters can see performance in real time. “We were in Guatemala and our website wasn’t working there,” says Adam. “It turns out there was a DNS configuration problem impacting a number of countries around the world, and it was New Relic that identified the problem.”

New Relic also gives the Watsi team deeper insight into application performance on the Heroku platform as a service (PaaS) infrastructure where Watsi is hosted. “It’s important to know what’s happening inside the Heroku stack,” says Bukowski. “New Relic gives us the instrumentation we need to optimize the experience for our users, particularly those who have poor Internet connections.”

“It’s important to know what’s happening inside the Heroku stack. New Relic gives us the instrumentation we need to optimize the experience for our users, particularly those who have poor Internet connections.”

Chase Adam Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Watsi

Changing the future of healthcare with data

As founder of a non-profit with global, life-changing goals, Adam has found that “having great ideas is only 10 percent of building an organization.” He believes that the other 90 percent is building technology that works correctly. “New Relic makes it possible to build software that our users love,” says Adam. “We could not do that without New Relic.” Bukowski agrees: “New Relic is an essential part of our engineering and development workflow.”

For Watsi, data is becoming a critical component of its ability to make a difference in the lives of as many people as possible. “We’re collecting data in developing countries that no one has been able to gather before,” says Bukowski. “For example, exactly how many pregnancies are happening in the town of Lwala, Kenya.” Watsi’s long-term vision is to use the detailed healthcare data it’s collecting to help allocate funding in a more efficient way.

A major component of that efficiency can be achieved through technology. “Historically, it was really difficult to implement bottom-up funding because you couldn’t scale the processes beyond one or two types of interventions,” says Adam. “But now, our software platform has enabled us to fund 170 different interventions over the course of the last three years. There’s really no limit to how many types of interventions we can fund moving forward.” With New Relic providing the insight it needs to continue scaling its software and the funding process, Watsi can make great strides in its goal of delivering needed healthcare for every person in the world

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