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Blueseed: the visa-free startup ship 30 minutes from Silicon Valley


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Twitter: @BlueseedProject

Blueseed is the live/work/play community for 1000 startup entrepreneurs, on a cruise ship to be stationed 30 minutes by ferry from the coast of Silicon Valley. The location allows entrepreneurs from anywhere in the world to start or scale their companies without needing U.S. work visas. Instead, easier-to-obtain B1/B2 business/travel visas will be used to arrive on Blueseed and to visit the mainland.

For more details, please see

Published in: Technology, Travel, Business
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Blueseed: the visa-free startup ship 30 minutes from Silicon Valley

  1. International entrepreneurs in international waters
  2. Table of contents 1. There's no startup place like Silicon Valley 2. But there’s no U.S. entrepreneur visa 3. Blueseed’s novel win-win solution 4. What will we offer? 1. Cost of living 2. Visas 3. Questions 5. How can you help?
  3. What’s the best place on Earth for a startup entrepreneur? Silicon Valley? Keep readingTell me more Skip next 6 slides Of course R E A S O N
  4. Silicon Valley is the best place for startups – a unique combination of: Ideas Capital Culture R E A S O N Silicon Valley is the best place for startups
  5. Ideas – US is #1 place to file patents Source: WIPO - R E A S O N 0 500,000 1,000,000 1,500,000 2,000,000 2,500,000 3,000,000 Germany Russian Federation China European Patent Office Republic of Korea Japan US Patents by office, 1995-2010
  6. Ideas – Silicon Valley is #1 U.S. area 0 10,000 20,000 30,000 40,000 50,000 60,000 70,000 San Francisco Bay Area New York- Northern New Jersey-Long Island Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA Boston- Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH Top U.S. regions by number of US Patent & Trademark Office patents, 2006-2010 Source: R E A S O N
  7. $0.10 $0.20 $0.70 $0.47 $1.40 $7.70 Canada India China Israel Europe US $0.00 $1.00 $2.00 $3.00 $4.00 $5.00 $6.00 $7.00 $8.00 $9.00 Venture capital investment (US$b) Capital – US is the #1 region R E A S O N Source: Ernst & Young - Global quarterly venture capital investment by geography, 2Q’2010
  8. Sacramento/N.Cal South Central Upstate NY North Central Philadelphia Metro SouthWest Colorado Northwest San Diego DC/Metroplex Southeast Midwest Texas LA/Orange County NY Metro New England Silicon Valley US venture capital investments by region, 2011 Capital – Silicon Valley is #1 area R E A S O N 41.0% 11.2% 9.5% 6.8% 5.2% 5.2% 3.7% 3.5% 3.1% 2.7% 2.2% 1.9% 1.7% 1.3% 0.4% 0.4% 0.2% % of total $11930M $3248M $2771M $1986M $1527M $1504M $1091M $1019M $892M $781M $627M $565M $485M $382M $119M $115M $67M Amount Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers National Venture Capital Association MoneyTree Report, Regional Aggregate Data 2011
  9. Culture – Silicon Valley is unique Risk taking It’s OK to fail Engineering tradition World class universities Cultural diversity R E A S O N
  10. So you want to come to Silicon Valley… P R O B L E M But you are a foreigner!
  11. “There simply are no US visas available for entrepreneurs” -- American Immigration Lawyers Association, March 2012 PROBLEM Source:
  12. Visa type Can work? Can self- employ? Expires Restrictions B1/B2 Business, Tourist or Waiver ✗ ✗ <6 mo/yr in U.S. Can’t earn income But can travel! E-2 Treaty Investor, or Employee of ✓ ✓ 2+2+2… yrs Not for India, Brazil, Russia, China “substantial” investment (~$100K) must own 50%+ of the business can’t convert to Green Card EB-5 Investor ✓ ✓ Never Must invest $1M+ and create 10 jobs H1-B Skilled worker ✓ ✗ 3+3 yrs If laid off, must find new sponsor ASAP – there is no grace period Cap at 65,000 per year L-1 Intra-company Transfer ✓ ✗ 3 yrs Must have worked at foreign branch for 1+ years No U.S. visas for entrepreneurs Inadequate existing alternatives: P R O B L E M
  13. No progress in U.S. Congress on Startup Visa Acts • Startup Visa (Mar ‘11) - died • Startup Act (Jun ‘11) - died • IDEA Act (Dec ‘11) - died • Startup Act 2.0 (May ‘12) - died • Startup Act 3.0 – 2% chance • Comprehensive Immigration Reform – opposed by House Political solutions? Source: -
  14. P R O B L E M Startup entrepre- neur kicked out of US due to visa issues
  15. P R O B L E M Startup kicked out of US due to visa issues
  16. P R O B L E M Startup entrepre- neur kicked out of US due to visa issues
  17. Image credit: P R O B L E M
  18. International waters line Ship located 12 miles offshore, in international waters, outside US jurisdiction – Bahamas flag 1
  19. Convert the cruise ship to a live/work/play space for 1000 2
  20. 30 minutes to shore 20 minutes to Palo Alto Convenient travel both ways by ferry, helicopter 3
  21. Use B1/B2 business/tourist visa to travel to mainland & stay <180 days 0 500,000 1,000,000 1,500,000 2,000,000 2,500,000 3,000,000 3,500,000 4,000,000 H-1B (skilled worker) L-1 (intracompany transfer) B1/B2 (business/tourism) Average # of U.S. visas granted per year, 2006-2011 Source: O F F E R 4
  22. Streamlined customs checkpoint – e.g. “Global Entry” 5 • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program • For frequent low-risk travelers • Enter the U.S. by using automated kiosks
  23. S O L U T I O N Business/Tourist Visa: • can travel to US, 180 days/yr • can attend meetings, events • streamlined border entryBahamas flagged ship: • can earn income, start companies • streamlined regulatory environment Work on the ship, in international waters Travel to the US using business/tourist visas, which are easier to obtain
  24. Where are we right now?
  25. Press from A to Z (working on Qz and Xconomy)
  26. On TV – CBS, CNN, BBC etc. (click to play videos)
  27. Startups that expressed interest Latest stats at 1516 entrepreneurs 496 startups 72 countries United States 23% India 10% Canada 4% Australia 4% Russia 2% Italy 2%UK 6%Spain 3%Brazil 3% France 3% Germany 2% China 2% Singapore 2% Other 34%
  28. Motivations for moving to Blueseed Not important Somewhat important Important Very important Critical An alternative to having to get US work visas for myself or other company founders 25.7% 16.0% 17.8% 18.8% 21.7% An alternative to having to get US work visas for my employees 26.3% 21.9% 21.7% 18.4% 11.7% Streamlined legal and regulatory environment made with low overhead in mind 7.5% 13.4% 26.5% 28.1% 24.5% Ease of finding talent 6.3% 14.0% 22.5% 30.8% 26.5% Proximity to Silicon Valley's investors 3.4% 10.5% 19.2% 30.8% 36.0% Living and working in an awesome startup- and technology- oriented space 1.0% 2.8% 10.9% 30.0% 55.3% Coolness factor / fame 14.2% 16.0% 24.3% 22.5% 23.1%
  29. Top motivation for moving to Blueseed “Living and working in an awesome startup- and technology- oriented space”
  30. High-tech university dorm 24/7 hackathon & coworking space Awesome startup- and technology- oriented space The Blueseed formula S O L U T I O N
  31. Live/work/play environment onboard: “Googleplex of the Sea” O F F E R
  32. Cabins for different budgets O F F E R
  33. O F F E R Customizable office space
  34. Recreational facilities O F F E R
  35. 24/7 food/medical/security O F F E R
  36. Wireless 1Gbps+ link to shore Liquid Robotics ocean drone relays mesh network O3b satellite backup, 130ms round-trip, 500Mbps Future: fiber-optic cable O F F E R High-speed Internet access
  37. Transportation to/from the mainland • Large capacity round-trip ferry boats, morning and evening • ~30 minutes from ship to shore
  38. When time is critical, helicopters • Medical or other emergencies • ~20 minutes to Palo Alto
  39. Shared equipment: 3D printers etc Gyms Pool Sports fields Entertainment venues Convenience stores Game rooms Post Office ATMs Cafes Food service Concierge O F F E R Amenities onboard
  40. Accelerator programs 300 startups on the ship means… …multiple cohorts in parallel …variable-length programs, e.g. • 3 months for web startups • 6 months for biotech or robotics companies O F F E R
  41. Startup accelerator services Connection with Silicon Valley startup events Access to angel investors and venture capital Networking activities Mentors and training programs Legal help: immigration, IP/patents etc. Events onboard + more… O F F E R
  42. No visas or immigration restrictions Much lower regulatory costs – you choose where to incorporate Simplified business and regulatory environment Bring into your team talent from anywhere in the world No stressful commuting, no traffic “Perpetual hackathon” atmosphere You’ll be in the middle of cutting-edge innovation S O L U T I O N Benefits of being aboard Blueseed
  43. Backup plans Source: O F F E R When moving to Blueseed, you’ll deposit an amount to cover transportation to your country of choice Q: Did your startup fail? A: The startup in the next cabin is probably hiring. “[in Silicon Valley] every company I work with is absolutely starved for talent: qualified software engineers, managers, marketers and salespeople” - Marc Andreessen, August 2011, Wall Street Journal 83% of the tech startups in the U.S. are looking to hire in 2012. – Silicon Valley Bank survey
  44. Cost of living aboard Blueseed (preliminary estimates; Blueseed doesn’t impose tax) • More cash + less equity, or • Less cash + more equity Combination of rent + startup equity Cash rent: from $1200/person/month (shared room for 4) Up to $3000/person/month (private room with ocean view) • San Francisco rent (May 2013): $2,211/mo • Plus desk at startup incubator: $500+/mo. Cost includes office space! O F F E R
  45. Blueseed’s interests are aligned with yours Blueseed taking equity in startups We succeed if you succeed O F F E R
  46. How we’ll work to reduce your rent (extra revenue streams) • Shows like “Shark Tank” can bring significant revenueMedia • Offices aboard for big companies looking to hire brilliant entrepreneurs like youTalent scouting • Since 2009, Google has been acquiring one new company per week. We’ll own equity in startups onboard, and cash in on exits. Early acquisition of startups • Rent out space for events, conferences etc. • Hotel rooms for visitors • Other partnerships enhancing the ecosystem We’ll be a unique environment O F F E R
  47. Visas you’ll need To live and work aboard Blueseed: no visa To travel to the U.S. mainland: • business visa (B-1), or • tourist visa (B-2; often combined with B-1), or • Visa Waiver (some countries, valid only 3 months), or • transit visa (least recommended) B1/B2 visas generally valid for 10 years Must spend at most 180 days/year in the U.S. Americans (e.g. investors) visit Blueseed freely O F F E R
  48. Ease of getting business/tourist visa vs. work visa 0 500,000 1,000,000 1,500,000 2,000,000 2,500,000 3,000,000 3,500,000 4,000,000 H-1B (skilled worker) L-1 (intracompany transfer) B1/B2 (business/tourism) Average # of U.S. visas granted per year, 2006-2011 Source: O F F E R
  49. What laws apply on board? • Bahamas (English common law) The laws of the flag state • Fair, efficient, speedy, predictable • You choose what country to incorporate in International commercial arbitration • To country of residence/incorporation • No taxes paid to Blueseed Taxes • International patents (WIPO) • United States patents (USPTO) Patents – as usual O F F E R
  50. FAQ – • Not a problem: large vessel (200m x 30m) • Meclizine - inexpensive preventative medication Seasickness • Tsunamis/earthquakes doesn’t affect ships at sea • Hurricanes don’t exist near California Tsunamis, Hurricanes • Happen rarely; affect large vessels less • In case of “force majeure”, we can come to shore Storms • We’re the only ones in the region :)Pirates :) O F F E R
  51. When will Blueseed launch? Estimated: Q1 2015 R&D we’re conducting – your help is welcome: • Startup incubators – partner with us! • Media exposure – the more, the merrier • Cleantech companies – get in touch • Ambassadors – spread the word! If you can help – contact us: O F F E R
  52. Blueseed Los Angeles Blueseed East Coast Near future
  53. Long term vision
  54. Concept ship – Terraces
  55. Concept ship – Artful Containers
  56. Concept ship – Hive
  57. Blueseed Atoll concept – stabilization barges and floating breakwaters
  58. Concept ship – Modern Hull
  59. How can you come aboard? • Investor • Startup network – see • Trusted contact – make a profile on AngelList Get referred by a reputable: • Be awesome – apply online – get selected! Or directly:
  60. Dario Mutabdzija CEO Dan Dascalescu CTO/COO Baoguang Zhai Bus. Dev. + partners… advisors… mentors… ambassadors… YOU! The Blueseed Team
  61. Apply online
  62. Want to be a partner?
  63. “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” -- Steve Jobs, 1955-2011