PayPal co-founder funds floating city for entrepreneurs
Blueseed would allow innovators from outside the U.S. to tap into Silicon Valley without worrying about visa issues.
Wed, May 16, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Part boat, part city, all innovation. That's the not-so-basic idea behind Blueseed, a new company that wants to build a floating city 12 miles off the coast of Silicon Valley to serve as an incubation site for entrepreneurs who can't officially immigrate to America due to restrictions on work visas.
Blueseed is being funded by Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal who has become an important philanthropist and venture capitalist supporting new technology ventures. He was an early investor in Facebook and has a reported net worth of more than $1.5 billion (that's pre-Facebook IPO, of course). Thiel has also invested in SpaceX, LinkedIn, Spotify and other companies.
Blueseed co-founder and CEO Max Marty told Reason TV that the idea of a city in the bay is both a reaction to and a solution to U.S. laws that prevent foreign innovators from coming to Silicon Valley. But by placing Blueseed just a half-hour from the shore, these innovators would be close enough to access Silicon Valley's infrastructure. Once their companies are large enough, Marty says they'll be able to move to the mainland and become a part of the U.S. tax base.
Fellow co-founder and President Dario Mutabdzija told Technology-Digital.com that current laws prevent foreign nationals from taking advantage of all that Silicon Valley has to offer. "A standard three-month work permit does not give you enough time to raise money, network, find talent or do anything significant."
Both Marty and Mutabdzija had previously worked at a nonprofit called The Seasteading Institute, which has a mission "to further the establishment and growth of permanent, autonomous ocean communities, enabling innovation with new political and social systems."
According to an article from Yahoo and Tecca, the Blueseed city/ship would combine both work and living spaces and even contain trees and lawns. The design shows an obvious influence from Google's famous headquarters. In fact, Blueseed calls it the "Googleplex of the Sea."
Entrepreneurs accepted into the Blueseed program would pay about $1,200 a month to cover both office and residential space, much lower than the going rate of $1,750 for a studio apartment in San Francisco. Food, concierge services and security would be available 24 hours a day.
Blueseed plans to launch itself in the third quarter of 2013. The company says it has already received interest from nearly 700 individuals from 50 countries.