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One entrepreneurial step
to the oceans
Dan Dascalescu
CTO, Blueseed
Entrepreneurship advisor,
2015-Oct-24
Oceanus AquaConf...
Seasteading concept “Artisanopolis” by Roark 3D
Dream big, but be realistic - size
Dream big, but be realistic - laws
Feasible - incremental
Likeable (not just legal)
Profitable
“The adjacent possible”
Big, disruptive new ideas must be…
Start with solving ONE
legal problem
(but that’s just the beginning)
“There simply are no U.S. visas
available for entrepreneurs”
PROBLEM #1
Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLCYfhZEFb8...
Visa type
Can
work?
Can self-
employ?
Expires Restrictions
B1/B2 Business,
Tourist or Waiver
✗ ✗
<6 mo/yr
in U.S.
Can’t ea...
Entrepreneurs are kicked out of U.S.
Image credit: siliconvalley.com
International waters line
Ship located 12 miles offshore,
in international waters,
outside US jurisdiction – Bahamas flag
1
Convert a used cruise ship
to a live/work/play space for 1000
2
30 minutes to shore 20 minutes to Palo Alto
Convenient travel both ways
by ferry, helicopter
3
Use B1/B2 business/tourist visa
to travel to mainland & stay <180 days
,0
500,000
1000,000
1500,000
2000,000
2500,000
3000...
Business/Tourist Visa:
• can travel to US, 180 days/yr
• can attend meetings, events
Bahamas flagged ship:
• can earn inco...
High-tech
university
dorm
24/7
hackathon &
coworking
space
Awesome startup-
and technology-
oriented space
The “Googleplex...
Blueseed: The innovators’ gateway
into Silicon Valley
Early-stage
startups
$uccessful
$caling
$tartups
The Blueseed team, 2011
met at The Seasteading Institute
Max Marty
CEO
Dario Mutabdzija
President
Dan Dascalescu
CIO
Startups that expressed interest
Latest stats at blueseed.com/come-aboard/results
1500+
entrepreneurs
540+ startups
72 cou...
Mike Maples Jr. / Floodgate
Raised $0.5M
+ 4 Bitcoin investors
+ other angels
Profitable –
Revenue and business model
• 300+ startups, ~6.5% avg. equity stake in each
• The next Instagram that we host...
Maritime law (UNCLOS protects us)
Immigration law (former USCIS director is our advisor)
Ocean conditions and ship stabili...
Blueseed
Los Angeles
Blueseed
East Coast
Near future
US ships
Concept ship – Terraces
Concept ship – Artful Containers
Concept ship – Hive
Blueseed Atoll concept – stabilization barges and floating breakwaters
Long term vision
Concept ship – Modern Hull
When do we launch?
Blueseed is now on hold pending funding.
Here’s what we’ve learned.
Address the deal breakers first!
Approach Coast Guard from the get go
Determine environmental stakeholders
Identify logist...
Challenges
Logistical
Funding & operating costs
Political
Public image
Logistical
Ocean conditions
Ship finding & converting
Resupplying
Personnel transfer at sea
Waste management
Mavericks, Half Moon Bay, California
Wave research
Ship > 500 ft. long
MS Island Escape
190m / 623ft long
27m / 88ft wide
1540 passengers max.
Use a Catamaran/SWATH ship
Example: China Star
131 meters / 430ft long
32 meters wide
354 passengers
MVP
Build: $200M
Buy used: $50M
Charter: $27M
Extensive analysis
of the
Island Escape
ship
Resupplying at sea is hard
Dock in SF every 2 weeks instead
Passenger transfer at sea
Motion-compensated gangway (video)
Monterey Bay
National
Marine
Sanctuary
“clean graywater only”
-- Sanctuary Regulations,
Title 15, Part 922, section 922.132
Self-Sufficient
Ocean Platforms
Professor Peter J. Schubert, Ph.D., P.E.
Director, Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable E...
MSW Gasifier/Oxidizer Pilot
Operational now – subject of MS thesis
Handles all municipal solid waste
No sorting, no size-r...
Funding - how to raise $31M
Investors in
startup
accelerators
Investors in
ship
businesses
?
Silicon Valley VCs: “Ships no...
Investor categories
Angel investors – amounts too low
Angel Groups – Gust, CapLinked: didn’t help
VCs – “ships not in our ...
Political
Laws
Immigration
Coast Guard
DHS
Environmental agencies
What laws apply on board?
• Bahamas (English common law)
The laws of the flag
state
• Fair, efficient, speedy, predictable...
Ask your customers & pivot PR
Problems leading with the “visa” story
“Train Americans instead!”
“These foreigners will steal American jobs!”
What if som...
Top motivation for Blueseed – unassailable
“Living and working in an awesome
startup- and technology- oriented space”
it’s Y Combinator
Combine that with…
Startups
Talent
pool
Startup
*community*
Don’t position as an accelerator
“The people who are crazy enough to think they
can change the world, are the ones who do.”
-- Steve Jobs, 1955-2011
How do we move forward?
www.blueseed.com
dan@blueseed.com
FAQ – blueseed.com/faq
• Not a problem: large vessel (623ft x 88ft)
• Meclizine - inexpensive preventative medication
Seas...
Cost of living aboard Blueseed
(preliminary estimates; Blueseed doesn’t impose tax)
From $1200/person/month
(shared room f...
Wireless 1Gbps+ link to shore
Liquid Robotics ocean drone
relays mesh network
O3b satellite backup,
130ms round-trip, 500M...
Blueseed - Lessons learned four years later
Blueseed - Lessons learned four years later
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Blueseed - Lessons learned four years later

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Looking back from 2015:
Lessons learned from starting up Blueseed, 2011-2013

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Blueseed - Lessons learned four years later

  1. 1. One entrepreneurial step to the oceans Dan Dascalescu CTO, Blueseed Entrepreneurship advisor, 2015-Oct-24 Oceanus AquaConference
  2. 2. Seasteading concept “Artisanopolis” by Roark 3D
  3. 3. Dream big, but be realistic - size
  4. 4. Dream big, but be realistic - laws
  5. 5. Feasible - incremental Likeable (not just legal) Profitable “The adjacent possible” Big, disruptive new ideas must be…
  6. 6. Start with solving ONE legal problem (but that’s just the beginning)
  7. 7. “There simply are no U.S. visas available for entrepreneurs” PROBLEM #1 Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLCYfhZEFb8#t=3m15s -- American Immigration Lawyers Association, March 2012
  8. 8. 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 L-1 Intra-company Transfer ✓ ✗ 3 yrs Must have worked at foreign branch for 1+ years Existing alternatives are inadequate
  9. 9. Entrepreneurs are kicked out of U.S.
  10. 10. Image credit: siliconvalley.com
  11. 11. International waters line Ship located 12 miles offshore, in international waters, outside US jurisdiction – Bahamas flag 1
  12. 12. Convert a used cruise ship to a live/work/play space for 1000 2
  13. 13. 30 minutes to shore 20 minutes to Palo Alto Convenient travel both ways by ferry, helicopter 3
  14. 14. Use B1/B2 business/tourist visa to travel to mainland & stay <180 days ,0 500,000 1000,000 1500,000 2000,000 2500,000 3000,000 3500,000 4000,000 H-1B (skilled worker) L-1 (intracompany transfer) B1/B2 (business/tourism) Average # of U.S. visas granted per year, 2006-2011 Source: http://www.travel.state.gov/xls/FYs97-11_NIVDetailTable.xls 4
  15. 15. Business/Tourist Visa: • can travel to US, 180 days/yr • can attend meetings, events Bahamas 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
  16. 16. High-tech university dorm 24/7 hackathon & coworking space Awesome startup- and technology- oriented space The “Googleplex of the Sea”
  17. 17. Blueseed: The innovators’ gateway into Silicon Valley Early-stage startups $uccessful $caling $tartups
  18. 18. The Blueseed team, 2011 met at The Seasteading Institute Max Marty CEO Dario Mutabdzija President Dan Dascalescu CIO
  19. 19. Startups that expressed interest Latest stats at blueseed.com/come-aboard/results 1500+ entrepreneurs 540+ 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%
  20. 20. Mike Maples Jr. / Floodgate Raised $0.5M + 4 Bitcoin investors + other angels
  21. 21. Profitable – Revenue and business model • 300+ startups, ~6.5% avg. equity stake in each • The next Instagram that we host = Equity position in startups • Residential – avg. $1600/p/mo • Commercial • Event space, hotel rooms Rent • Food • Tours • Media (TV, advertising) and sponsorships Other revenue streams
  22. 22. Maritime law (UNCLOS protects us) Immigration law (former USCIS director is our advisor) Ocean conditions and ship stability Open-ocean docking and personnel transfer Transportation options (ferries, helicopters) Ship space re-allocation Internet connectivity A LOT more. Check out blueseed.com/faq Feasible – We’ve researched:
  23. 23. Blueseed Los Angeles Blueseed East Coast Near future US ships
  24. 24. Concept ship – Terraces
  25. 25. Concept ship – Artful Containers
  26. 26. Concept ship – Hive
  27. 27. Blueseed Atoll concept – stabilization barges and floating breakwaters
  28. 28. Long term vision
  29. 29. Concept ship – Modern Hull When do we launch?
  30. 30. Blueseed is now on hold pending funding. Here’s what we’ve learned.
  31. 31. Address the deal breakers first! Approach Coast Guard from the get go Determine environmental stakeholders Identify logistical challenges
  32. 32. Challenges Logistical Funding & operating costs Political Public image
  33. 33. Logistical Ocean conditions Ship finding & converting Resupplying Personnel transfer at sea Waste management
  34. 34. Mavericks, Half Moon Bay, California
  35. 35. Wave research
  36. 36. Ship > 500 ft. long MS Island Escape 190m / 623ft long 27m / 88ft wide 1540 passengers max.
  37. 37. Use a Catamaran/SWATH ship Example: China Star 131 meters / 430ft long 32 meters wide 354 passengers
  38. 38. MVP Build: $200M Buy used: $50M Charter: $27M
  39. 39. Extensive analysis of the Island Escape ship
  40. 40. Resupplying at sea is hard Dock in SF every 2 weeks instead
  41. 41. Passenger transfer at sea
  42. 42. Motion-compensated gangway (video)
  43. 43. Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary “clean graywater only” -- Sanctuary Regulations, Title 15, Part 922, section 922.132
  44. 44. Self-Sufficient Ocean Platforms Professor Peter J. Schubert, Ph.D., P.E. Director, Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy 46
  45. 45. MSW Gasifier/Oxidizer Pilot Operational now – subject of MS thesis Handles all municipal solid waste No sorting, no size-reduction NOT an incinerator – cleaner! Containerized for easy delivery Scalable and modular Produces heat for water, sanitation Can also produce electric power “Old Blue” 47
  46. 46. Funding - how to raise $31M Investors in startup accelerators Investors in ship businesses ? Silicon Valley VCs: “Ships not in our mandate”
  47. 47. Investor categories Angel investors – amounts too low Angel Groups – Gust, CapLinked: didn’t help VCs – “ships not in our mandate” Institutional investors (LPs) – we compete with VCs Crazy-bold investors except Peter Thiel?
  48. 48. Political Laws Immigration Coast Guard DHS Environmental agencies
  49. 49. What laws apply on board? • Bahamas (English common law) The laws of the flag state • Fair, efficient, speedy, predictable International commercial arbitration • To country of residence/incorporation • No taxes paid to Blueseed Taxes • International patents (WIPO) • United States patents (USPTO) Patents – as usual
  50. 50. Ask your customers & pivot PR
  51. 51. Problems leading with the “visa” story “Train Americans instead!” “These foreigners will steal American jobs!” What if some Startup Visa Act passes? Visa story is vulnerable
  52. 52. Top motivation for Blueseed – unassailable “Living and working in an awesome startup- and technology- oriented space”
  53. 53. it’s Y Combinator
  54. 54. Combine that with…
  55. 55. Startups Talent pool Startup *community* Don’t position as an accelerator
  56. 56. “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” -- Steve Jobs, 1955-2011
  57. 57. How do we move forward? www.blueseed.com dan@blueseed.com
  58. 58. FAQ – blueseed.com/faq • Not a problem: large vessel (623ft x 88ft) • 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 :)
  59. 59. Cost of living aboard Blueseed (preliminary estimates; Blueseed doesn’t impose tax) From $1200/person/month (shared room for 4) Up to $3000/person/month (private room with ocean view) Cost includes office space
  60. 60. Wireless 1Gbps+ link to shore Liquid Robotics ocean drone relays mesh network O3b satellite backup, 130ms round-trip, 500Mbps Future: fiber-optic cable High-speed Internet access

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