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Paypal founder backs Blueseed "visa-free entrepreneurship and tech incubator"

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December 28, 2011

Blueseed is a bold new initiative hoping to create a floating 'entrepreneurship and techno...

Blueseed is a bold new initiative hoping to create a floating 'entrepreneurship and technology incubator' off the coast of San Francisco

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Paypal co-founder and billionaire Peter Thiel, who is currently the Seasteading Institute's "most generous funder" has continued his commitment to creating floating autonomous states by backing Blueseed. The new initiative hopes to create a floating "entrepreneurship and technology incubator" off the coast of San Francisco, allowing the next generation of creative entrepreneurs to legally develop new technologies without US working visas.

"Because of the United States' current immigration and regulatory regime, bold and creative entrepreneurs from around the world aren't given the chance to come to Silicon Valley and develop the technologies that could be creating jobs and propelling the economy forward" claims Blueseed. Thus "Blueseed aims to solve this problem so that Silicon Valley remains the world's center for innovation."

The Blueseed facility is effectively an office complex on a ship - a ship that hopes to permanently reside on international waters, a short ferry ride from the Silicon Valley. The project is planned to launch in 2013 and will provide living and office space in a modern "Googleplex of the Sea", as Blueseed CIO Dan Dascalescu put it to Wired. This visa-free high-tech environment is designed to nurture the development of new jobs, companies and innovative technologies from talented individuals from all over the globe.

Blueseed will feature comfortable living quarters accommodating one to four people
The development aims to provide a cost-effective and modern business environment and is set to include some impressive facilities:
  • Living quarters accommodating one to four people per room
  • Catering and food services at cafes and venues around the ship
  • Recreational facilities such as gyms, game rooms, and other entertainment venues
  • Customizable individual or group offices
  • High-speed Internet access
  • On-board convenience stores and post office
  • 24-hour security and concierge
  • Medical services
  • Ferry services for on-board foreign national clients or US domestic commuters

While the idea does sound like Blueseed is opening its doors to anyone in the world, startup hopefuls will still need to enter the US to gain access to the Blueseed ship. In doing so they will need to enter with a B1 (business) or B2 (tourist) visa or a visa waiver (valid up to 90 days). Rent is estimated to start at US$1,200 per month and interested entrepreneurs can register online at Blueseed.

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema.   All articles by Bridget Borgobello
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26 Comments

This looks like a scam. Plenty of qualified Americans need jobs.

Eddie
28th December, 2011 @ 07:35 am PST

Ameritopia scares Business off?

Now there's somewhere PETA, the EPA, and other idiot Soviet Liberals cannot harass...

Edgar Castelo
28th December, 2011 @ 08:14 am PST

With telecommuting, intellectual workers can be located anywhere in the world and for far less than $1,200/month. Costa Rica comes to mind, and probably a dozen other countries with liberal "guest worker" rules and access to modern communications technology. Housing people on a ship is expensive, especially if it's a purpose-built vessel instead of (for example) a refurbished, decommisioned drilling platform.

William H Lanteigne
28th December, 2011 @ 08:41 am PST

The cynic in me sees this turning into a floating sweatshop.

Jon A.
28th December, 2011 @ 08:42 am PST

Slave ship....

DemonDuck
28th December, 2011 @ 09:13 am PST

there are either other plans than stated for this thing ( like it just being a play yaht for them to enjoy without having to defend yourself as being too rich and ostentatious) ...or the paypal founders just don't care about money anymore because i'm assuming they are too clever to get snookered into trying a project like this.

i'm betting on 1.

zevulon
28th December, 2011 @ 10:18 am PST

Yes .... this plan is much easier than setting up a number of VPN accounts and traveling occasionally ... the trick with "napkin business plans" is that the ones written on beer coasters can't be taken as seriously ... just say'n.

Jeff Rosati
28th December, 2011 @ 11:03 am PST

I thought the same as you all did, at first.

But this guy (Peter Theil) is a smart man...and he's a self-made billionaire, so i'm pretty sure he's looked into it.

Derek Howe
28th December, 2011 @ 03:37 pm PST

I can see this as a great get away place or place to live. It looks really cool.

I agree it would take away jobs from those in America who need it. I still think it is neat. Perhaps if they used Americans to build and maintain it?

I heard that Dubai's islands are sinking. Perhaps they could a few there? Perhaps a refuge or 'life boat' to those who are on the sinking islands?

BigGoofyGuy
28th December, 2011 @ 04:20 pm PST

if only they could handle it correctly this would be awesome

looks like they could improve a lot in science like this

multidisciplinary groups with great technology

i hope they don't become slaves

Izlxe
28th December, 2011 @ 10:47 pm PST

Is anyone commenting here actually familiar with this concept? Seems like an awful lot of xenophobia in play.

Fact: This isn't for workers. It's for entrepreneurs starting new businesses who aren't allowed to work in the US because they can't get a proper visa through no fault of their own but rather because of the glacial pace the federal bureaucracy works at. In some countries, you have to wait months to even be interviewed for a visa at a US consulate. The companies they're starting are US-based, employing Americans who legally live and work on the mainland. They're trying to create American jobs rather than letting them slip away to China or elsewhere. A lot of these guys got their education and inspiration here and would prefer to keep their money and expertise in this country, but if they can't start their businesses here, the up and coming nations would be happy to have them. So stop with this ignorant, idiotic "slave ship/sweatshop" talk.

Fact: Read the Wired article. This will either be a converted cruise ship or a built-up barge. Thinking this will be a "purpose-built" vessel is yet another unfounded assumption.

Fact: These aren't "napkin business plans." These will guys paying $1200 a month to run their American businesses, which can't be done via Skype, no matter what the armchair executives here think.

Honestly, sometimes the level of ignorance here on Gizmag is astonishing.

Gadgeteer
28th December, 2011 @ 11:03 pm PST

I am going to say it is about taxes and not paying them, it is a way to get around the H1-B visa cap and hire in computer programmers from China and India at $15.00 per hr instead of $50.00 per hour plus taxes and medical insurance on top of that

Dave Lewis
29th December, 2011 @ 02:44 am PST

I can easily see this turning into something really seedy, with sex slaves and other illegal activities for those who don't want to fly all the way to Thailand.

Also I imagine it is also about getting out of paying taxes. The thing that annoys me about that is that these Ayn Rand tools pretend that they have not enjoyed growing up in a society where virtually everything that makes America possible (public education, highways, free libraries, national defense, educated workforce, and agencies protecting you from everything from poisoning to being kidnapped), and now that they have grown up they do not want to pay the bill, just like someone going into a restaurant and ordering a nice meal and then skipping on the check.

Michaelc
29th December, 2011 @ 06:37 am PST

Really talented with nefarious intentions by chance? Has the great one figured out a way to ensure that his floating tech incubator will not become a security risk? Surely, the possibility has dawned on him and his yes-man entourage...this sounds more like an Austin Powers (international man of mystery) scene delete.

Mirmillion
29th December, 2011 @ 09:28 am PST

Questions:

Why do foreign nationals have to enter through the U.S.? They could enter from anywhere, depending on the registry of the ship.

What makes this any better than 'on land' facilities?

Do prospective occupants need to be vetted for their stay, or can anybody claim to be an entrepreneur?

If this is designed to keep Silicon Valley in the lead as the hot spot of the world for tech, is the offshore position of the floating workplace still too far, or maybe not far enough?

Comments:

This could be a great idea, but it will take some agreeable rules, so it would be effectively like a mini government.

Hackers will certainly infiltrate and target these operations.

When somebody gets seriously ill, where do they go? If they have used their tourist of business visa, the U.S. wouldn't want them. On the other hand, when they come up with the 'next big thing' the U.S., would want them. So it's like a little idea incubator. Some of the eggs die, so what. Some develop into big fat Chickens, and those are the ones we want to eat.

But still, why a 'floating' think tank?

flylowguy
29th December, 2011 @ 09:30 am PST

I'm still trying to figure out how that's different from California anyway. We now have Kamala Harris as our AG so no one's getting in trouble for anything. Looks cool, though.

Dan Veronese
29th December, 2011 @ 11:14 am PST

What has been pointed out before about Thiel's endeavors along these lines is the absurdity of the principles behind them. The American system works well enough for Thiel to become and remain a billionaire; why the need to build a new nation-state? The same for his funding of a floating libertarian country... why would billionaires want to leave a country that's treated them so well? The unemployed and homeless wanting to start a new system would make much more sense than billionaires. This shows that even smart and successful people can stop thinking when they become enamored with a philosophy/ideology/religious/cult/conspiracy idea.

"Because of the United States' current immigration and regulatory regime, bold and creative entrepreneurs from around the world aren't given the chance to come to Silicon Valley and develop the technologies that could be creating jobs and propelling the economy forward" - they're still not in Silicon Valley, or even America. The tourist visa requirement is so that apparently they can live/work on the boat while visiting/meeting in Silicon Valley as a visitor without meeting the stricter work visa requirements. I still can't see this working and any Silicon Valley types who deal with these foreign/not-foreign workers/not-workers will probably be the on the receiving end of a public backlash.

alcalde
29th December, 2011 @ 11:35 am PST

There are people all over the US that live in boats and avoid property taxes etc. This is just taking it on a bigger scale. I could see a retirement coop as a possibility.

Larry Hoffman
29th December, 2011 @ 11:52 am PST

This country was founded by rebels who wanted to avoid taxes and regulation, i.e., theft and slavery. They succeeded temporarily. Then in 1789 a counter American revolution sowed the seeds of tyranny. The seeds grew and the fruit is ripe.

Michaeic: The prosperity here is in spite of government. You object to a small oasis of freedom and try to guilt us into rejecting it because you say we owe our lives to the U.S. I am a sovereign person who knows he has been exploited, rather than nourished, by the ruling elite. Less so than in other countries, but exploited all the same. Less enslaved, does not equate to free. Traveling abroad I learned that EVERY government teaches the populace that they are protected and nourished by the elite. They all lie.

Every government sees a voluntary community as a threat. It is. It will point out the lie.

voluntaryist
29th December, 2011 @ 04:21 pm PST

re; Michaelc

America is not as free as we used to be if we were there would not be any interest in this kind of floating liberty zone.

Slowburn
29th December, 2011 @ 04:57 pm PST

"Blueseed aims to solve this problem so that Silicon Valley remains the world's center for innovation."

What would be the return for the would be entrepreneur? Being secluded on a boat while US rips the benefits of its creativity?

ugosugo
30th December, 2011 @ 07:54 am PST

The same pay and benefits as if they are working in Silicon Valley, without the same liabilities.

Slowburn
30th December, 2011 @ 11:45 am PST

Fascinating idea that has been floated before. In 2005 SeaCode was set up to reengineer nearshoring by modifying aging cruise ships to house software programmers, and then anchoring these ships in international waters surrounding the United States and Europe.

The first ship was envisioned to be permanently stationed three miles out to sea, off the San Diego coastline. The ship was to a floating software factory for programmers working for California-based firms. Clients could even visit for meetings by boat or helicopter.

SeaCode never set sail.

Erran Carmel
2nd January, 2012 @ 07:17 pm PST

Step this way, folks, we have another "Comments" section just for you! Show off your cleverness, your wit; find something (or imagine something) to criticize, no matter how trivial or absurd, and prove your worth! Think you're smart? Well, prove it by shooting down this person's work, from the comfort of your office chair. With your sheer genius, and 2 or 3 minutes of thought, your wisdom is sure to overshadow all the knowledge and understanding these people have gained over the years they've worked on this project, and by god, we can't wait to benefit from your words. Bring it!

FastGuy
4th January, 2012 @ 09:21 am PST

Edgar C said it: You can innovate from anywhere on the planet.

This idea can be summed up in one word: maquiladora. But a special one, free from all those troublesome issues that keep some people up at night. Things like minimum wage requirements, health and safety regs, taxes, environmental protections, etc. Hey! $2 an hour is better than no job at all, right? And its only a short ferry ride offshore.

Not enough for ya? It would be a piece of cake to put a call center on one of these. A call center that, since its not in the US, could ignore your Do Not Call registration with impunity.

Its a whole new take on 'offshoring'. Anchors away ( sic) baby.

Xanshin
4th January, 2012 @ 06:21 pm PST

I am a retired Unix/C programmer. During my career as a programmer, I made between $45 and $120 per hour doing consulting jobs and between $13,000 and $120,000 per year working as a captive employee.

I started my career in 1980 and retired ( not my idea ) in 2007. I think this boat off the coast of California near San Francisco is a great idea.

Get the money out of politics! The corporations are NOT people. Vote out of office any "GREEDY BASTARD".

Elmer Fittery
14th January, 2012 @ 10:15 am PST
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