Water a Great Idea! The Visa-Free Valley Incubator

By David Knight |

Innovation can conquer a lot of things including, it seems, that fearsome bastion of red tape bureaucracy – immigration laws. So if there are any budding or even already-successful entrepreneurs in Germany who fancy a crack at Silicon Valley itself, but who are worried that they will not be allowed into the US to follow their dream, then fear not.

Because ambitious plans by one Californian startup could make it plain sailing. Blueseed wants to build a massive ship and dock it off the American coast near San Francisco as a visa-free offshore technology incubator, allowing foreign entrepreneurs to be a part of the Silicon Valley scene without having to go through customs.

I think it’s a brilliant, albeit unlikely, idea. The concept pictures certainly look awesome! The ship would be just a short boat ride from the world’s busiest tech scene. Max Marty, CEO and co-founder of Blueseed and the son of Cuban immigrants, came up with the idea after foreign classmates of his at the University of Miami business school were upset at the thought of having to leave the US after completing their studies. According to AP, he said: “A lot of people say, ‘I’d like to go to Silicon Valley’ but there is no way for them to do it.”

There could well be in the future, however, with the massive ship planned to be able to accommodate 1,000 people and be docked more than 12 miles southwest of San Francisco, in international waters. A living and working space on board would cost around $1,200 a month, and residents could attend meetings on shore with short term visitor visas, which are easier to obtain.

Dario Mutabdzija, Blueseed’s president, said: “Yes, we live in an interconnected age with Skype and other video conferencing. But if you want to grow a company, physical interactions are of paramount importance.

“We’re a startup. We ran into this. Some people said if you’re not within a 20 mile radius, we won’t talk to you.”

The company is looking to raise up to $30 million in funding over the next 18 months to with the aim of launching the project, so to speak, in late 2013.