Start-up at sea



We like to think of the United States as a country of brain gain, one that attracts talent, rather than one of brain drain. Yet immigration to the United States, even “quality” immigration, is by no means easy. While a company can quite easily hire a person from overseas and get that person a visa, matters are far more difficult for an immigrant who wishes to start up his own company. For this entrepreneur it can be almost impossible to obtain a visa, and more likely than not he will have to give up on the so-called American dream.

It is with this legal context in mind that three young visionaries (backed by the founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel) have come up with a project which, though in its early stages, could prove a stroke of genius: Blueseed. Blueseed is a start-up incubator which, unlike similar businesses on American soil, will not have the worry of visas. Why? Because Blueseed will not actually be on American soil: it is a ship (and there will be more) moored in international waters, off the coast of Silicon Valley, equipped with living accomodation and offices. Anyone who wants to live and work on this ship can do so without a visa, and reach the cradle of high-tech in just half an hour by ferry. The idea, it seems, is legally sound as it is attracting significant investment.

This is an interesting story, whether it succeeds or not (it is expected to “launch” in the third quarter of 2013): for not only does Blueseed promote the free circulation of people and ideas, it is also pursuing its ideal with an innovative new legal solution. We look forward to seeing the outcome.