They’re hoping to welcome 996 entrepreneurs from 305 startups in 60 countries and they won’t have any problems with the U.S. Immigration laws. That’s the thinking behind the Blueseed project which plans to open for business in 2013. Blueseed’s plan for an immigration-free workplace aims to position a ship in international waters, 12 nautical miles off the coast of San Francisco. With high-speed Internet access, co-working and co-living spaces, and daily transportation to the “mainland” via ferry, the Blueseed project hopes to attract the brightest, most entrepreneurial minds to a workplace without the rigid U.S. immigration rules. As it turns out, a foreigner can acquire a business visa that doesn’t let the person work, or a work visa that doesn’t allow the owner to start a business.
The planned Blueseed location near Silicon Valley is no coincidence. The founders envision Silicon Valley companies to be close allies of the tech startups that are incubating on the ship. The startup companies on Blueseed may be consultants or developers in businesses that are related to other companies in Silicon Valley but their owners or employees may be unable to acquire the necessary immigration documents. Consequently, they would be able to work in close proximity to Silicon Valley without being on American soil. When they visit the mainland, they can do so on a tourist visa. But if the tourist visa isn’t granted, the location also makes it easy for co-workers in Silicon Valley to visit the ship.
For around $1,600 US each month, an entrepreneur can reside in a shared cabin on the Blueseed vessel where office space is included in the price. An unshared, top-tier cabin will cost $3,000. The rooms feature ocean views – other views are not available. Essentially, it’s a cruise ship that doesn’t cruise and doesn’t include a vacation. Meanwhile there is growing interest in an idea called “Seasteading,” which will feature floating cities with their own governments. In such a world, the next Columbus can be on the “ocean blue,” without actually sailing.