Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

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


Published on

More at

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
  • Good info!.... STARTUPS...Send your pitchdeck to thousands of VC's and Angel's with just 1 click. Visit:
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • @courtneyBolton Answers, part 4 of 4:

    • How might the business risk of indeterminate location-factors be quantified?

    By not having indeterminate location-factors. We've assessed the ocean conditions, immigration regulations, ship paths, and environmental concerns that pertain to the location.

    • Who are Blueseed's primary partners? insurance agents?

    See the answer above regarding affiliations and partnerships.

    • What happens if goods/services delivery are delayed by external factors?

    We'll have reserves aboard, just like any cruise ship.

    • How might this impact the well-being & competitiveness of my companies? Might they be adversely affected?

    Depends on your business, you’re a better judge of that than we can be. Cloud-based startups may be less impacted by delayed food and supplies delivery than, say, a food discovery startup.

    • How many excellent, world-class engineers really want to live on a ship, anyway?

    We’re betting – a lot

    • Don't they want computers?

    Why wouldn’t they have them?

    • Are entrepreneurs (& their employees, working partners) required to live or work onboard the ship?

    Work onboard - yes, unless they have the legal right to work in the US. Live onboard - for at least 186 days of the year, unless they have the legal right to live in the US.

    • What other key factors might I consider as I begin to highlight & any other properties affiliated with Seasteading Institute?

    As a journalist? The risk of receiving negative comments from factions that are opposed to entrepreneurship and job creation.

    • Does Blueseed cap the productivity, or growth, of research- or product-based ventures using time-limits?

    We don't impose time limits, but we think that after a year or two on successfully scaling the boat, startups will find it in their advantage to move to shore, which they will be able to do given their financial resources at that time.

    • Are entrepreneurs & their employees required to launch as public companies?


    • How does Sea-Steading Institute mission effect, or influence,

    Blueseed is the first commercial seasteading venture.

    • Will use travel agents, or real-estate brokers?


    • What, for example, makes Blueseed identify as part of the 'travel' industry --vs. the real-estate industry?

    We’re neither

    • Will recycling, or wind-power, be offered as a function of the cargo-ship? Cruise ships are notorious polluters.

    We'll encourage recycling. Regarding clean energy, see the question above.

    • Likewise, I'm also curious about Seasteading Institute's ability (as stated) to actually exist independent from the grid, and/or independent from the protection, jurisdiction, &/or sanction of surrounding landmasses, governing bodies, coast guards, manufacturing plants, air-rights units, currencies, etc.

    Seasteads are a bit away in the future. For the moment, Blueseed doesn't intend to isolate itself; that would not make business sense. Likewise, self-sufficiency does not make business sense. Instead, we'll do what we do best (allow startups from around the world to incubate in the most amazing incubator space ever built), and we'll trade with others who are best positioned to offer food, energy, security etc.

    • Where will you store; and how will you dispose of the ship's waste?

    We’re speaking with several companies that treat and handle these issues. Commonly, Platform Supply Vessels transport waste to shore, where it is disposed of similarly to shore-generated waste.
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • @courtneyBolton Answers, part 3 of 4:

    • Does Blueseed guarantee investment in any form from its friends the California entrepreneurs?


    • Does it offer translation services?

    There will be translation services aboard.

    • Are pets, plants, biological specimens, yogurt, etc allowed onboard?

    Within reason. Dogs and cats, or “potentially dangerous” chemicals or biologics of any kind will not be allowed.

    • May I grow any plants I like?

    Generally yes, except for those classified by the US as illegal drugs.

    • Does Blueseed offer any security?

    Yes, we will have a private security force aboard, providing internal security and defense against potential external threats.

    • What about scurvy?

    Eat your oranges.

    • Does it provide transportation?

    Yes - daily ferries, emergency and VIP helicopter service, and most likely an ecosystem of speedboats that independent providers will form.

    • Who controls its airspace?

    Ships have an internationally recognized safe-zone around them. So we do, to a point.

    • Are inhabitants understood to be investments? or tenants?


    • What if a disagreement erupts onboard? How is it resolved?

    We will have security and legal expertise aboard, like any cruise ship.

    • Are firearms permitted?

    Generally, no.

    • What about 'fireworks' ?

    Probably not. We'll run a fireworks show on the Blueseed anniversary, from a barge located at a safe distance from the ship.

    • What internationally-recognized governments support Blueseed?

    We’re not a sovereign nation, nor seeking to be one.

    • Does Blueseed support server-side backup?

    Wile most startups will choose to store data in the cloud, we'll have a small server farm aboard. If not, a startup will most likely appear to offer such a service.

    • Am I able to transact normal business operations, abroad Blueseed?

    That is the whole point?

    • How will energy be supplied to the ship?

    There are various possibilities we're exploring:
    * a fuel cell powered by hydrogen or natural gas. Extremely high reliability (6 nines), very safe, completely clean, and quasi-silent.
    * algal biofuels
    * solar power
    * wind power
    * Wave Energy Conversion
    * Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion
    * clean-burning diesel transported from shore
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • @courtneyBolton Answers part 2 of 4: • What happens if a human body w/out a US visa dies while on board the ship? Human bodies won’t be allowed on the ship if they’re not allowed on shore. • What happens if a worker needs immediate medical care on Blueseed? The first line of response is the ship hospital. We’ll have a contract with local onshore hospitals as well, and emergency transportation via helicopter. • Are women able to give birth? They can even give birth in water. To actually answer the question, having children aboard is something we don't recommend at this stage, given the lack of specific child-care facilities and safety measures. • Can you grow your own food? This will be left to each individual, and to startups that focus on food production, such as from aquaculture or algae cultivation. • What about livestock? As much as the paleo crowd onboard would like some grass-fed beef patties, we'd like an atmosphere free of methane and moos. • How many nationalities are represented on board the boat? Right now, startups from 43 countries have expressed interest in locating on the ship. See for updated survey results. • Will the boat accept Square? If the question is, will vendors aboard use the Square device to take credit card payments, then the answer is that that will be entirely their choice. • What about Paypal? Yes • How about standard-issue bank checks? Sounds great • What makes you emphasize 'cash' on page-30 of the deck? 'Cash' as opposed to equity. • Does Blueseed have anything like a Wal-mart? What about a Best Buy? CostCo? We’re not big enough, but we'll have convenience and electronics store(s). • How is property defined, on-board? Similarly to on-shore in the US • What if all of my computers, servers, electron microscopes, or external hard drives get wet, misplaced, or somehow stolen? That would be a really bad day. We’d suggest going to the on-board authorities. • Is anyone able to come on board the boat, at any time? No, not anyone. The default is yes, but we reserve the right to refuse anyone we deem as being unacceptable for any reason. • What airport would you recommend I fly into? SFO • What forms of payment will Blueseed accept for provisional goods & services? See above. • Is broadband internet guaranteed? To the extent an Internet connection is ever guaranteed by an internet provider. See above for Internet connectivity redundancy. • How might that work? Ship-wide WiFi, ship-to-shore microwave link. • Tell me more about the underwater fiber optic submarine cable. We'll explore this idea based on bandwidth demand, capabilities of alternatives (namely microwave transmission) by the time we launch, and cost and permitting issues for the submarine cable. • Does Blueseed consider itself a container vessel for its properties? It's liable, as such? Not for the startups aboard. Each will have their own brand and domain name. For vendors aboard, probably, as in • Does it have a fixed location? What if its location moves, disappears, or is otherwise rendered non-functional? We’ll have to adapt if that happens, but the location is fixed - • As a international Korean citizen, how often would my family be able to visit? As often as you can afford, and they can get US tourist visas (the latter is generally not a problem - tourist visas for South Korean citizens are valid for 10 years - • What if I am unable to fly into the United States? May I board the ship from another location? No • As a resident of Blueseed, am I able to accept sleep-over guests & visitors at any point? For short durations, yes. We'll also have hotel rooms available.
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • @ courtneyBolton: Answers, part 1 of 4:

    • Does Blueseed consider itself a nation-state?

    No. We will fly an open registry flag, like most cruise ships.

    • Does page 33 imply that (only) American citizens are investors?

    No. Investors worldwide are welcome.

    • Page 33 sounds very over-priced; even from my USA, NYC Manhattan resident. Keep in mind that rent aboard Blueseed includes living and work space. The average rent for a Studio (one room) in San Francisco is $1700/mo. The average price for a desk in a coworking space like is $400/month. Blueseed is actually competitive in terms of real estate prices with San Francisco, London, and other large cities. • Does Blueseed require, or prohibit, investment by any of its holding companies? Am I required to sign a non-compete? We don’t prohibit our startups from doing what they see fit financially. • What type of growth, or deliverables-timeline, might be expected from a company aboard Blueseed? Depends on the startup, case by case. We won’t kick someone off unless they’re not actually pursuing work on their startup. • It has SLAs? SLAs might be outlined for Internet connectivity (we'll have a primary microwave link and a satellite backup at the very least, if not an undersea cable as well), transportation (two separate ferries and an independent ecosystem of speedboat providers will ensure redundancy) and utilities on the ship. • What are its industry affiliations? Ingk Labs, Startup Digest, Startup Weekend, and many others. We'll be revamping our website to showcase our existing partnerships and facilitate new ones. • What parts are most advantageous, for aspiring start-ups? What affiliations would benefit most from the 'visa-free' nature of the boat? Besides the lack of visa requirements, aspiring startups will benefit from a streamlined regulatory environment provided by flying an open registry flag, which means being a floating piece of the territory of the flag country (e.g. Bahamas, Marshall Islands). Other advantages include the ability to hire talent from around the world (again thanks to the lack of visa restrictions), and being in the press and investors' spotlight along with the entire ship. • Are LLCs, bootstraps, or NGOs able to incubate with Blueseed? Yes, if they’re interesting enough and add positively to the culture aboard. • Are start-ups required to disclose their funding, prior to their application? Yes • By what measures does Blueseed consider its business' successful? After the launch, there will several inflection points: * the first rapidly growing startup (think the next Twitter) incubates out of Blueseed and becomes known worldwide * the second ship is launched * Blueseed expands in other location than Silicon Valley's coast • How do you vet prospective entrepreneurs or business partners? Basically getting referred or introduced via a trusted investor. Added a slide specifically about this towards the end of the presentation (slide 45 currently). • Do you have any expertise running hotels, theme-parks, or cruise ships? This is being outsourced to experienced professionals from the cruise and hospitality industry. • Are tenants also considered investments? would a thing like conflict-of-interest exist? Our interest is for them to succeed, which is why we take a portion of equity in each startup. If their interest conflicts with ours in this regard, they aren’t a good fit. • Is the ship governed by a rule of law? Yes, just like any other cruise ship. • To what degree is Blueseed responsible for any business risks posed by its operations or, endeavors? To the same extent as any company / ship operator. • How does Blueseed manage its imports? Logistics & supply chain management, resupply from a ferry via a vendor. • Have delivery schedules, SLAs, & timelines been outlined for necessary goods & services? We'll hammer out these details as we approach the launch date, Q3 2013. • What forms of payment does it prefer? PayPal, wire transfers, and in the near future, major credit cards. • Does Blueseed outline payments-types, or any terms, on the part of its vendors? We'll hammer out these details as we approach the launch date. • What forms of payment are they able to accept on-board? Most major credit cards, and USD cash.
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here

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