After struggling with visa issues to come to Silicon Valley and start his own company, Dascalescu said he was inspired by the notion of creating ocean communities in international waters, so that entrepreneurs wouldn’t need a visa to essentially startup 12 miles off the California coast.
Dascalescu, who is an ambassador for nonprofit organization The Seasteading Institute, and his co-founders Max Marty and Dario Mutabdzija, have so far received 240 applications from 800 entrepreneurs hailing from 52 countries. Venture capital firms and angel investors can also recommend startups to Blueseed.
Those startups accepted into the program will give a small portion of equity to Blueseed, Dascalescu said, ranging between 2% and 8%, depending on what stage the company is in. Entrepreneurs will pay rent and equity with rent ranging from $1,200 for a shared cabin to $3,000 for a single accommodation cabin. Those without visas can, by law, travel back and forth to Silicon Valley by ferry for up to 180 days a year, he said.
The goal is to have about 1,000 entrepreneurs on board, and Dascalescu said each startup will have an average of three people on its team. Residents typically will stay aboard the incubator for about one year, he said. Blueseed will help foreign-born companies make the transition to opening up shop in the U.S. legally, he said.
“We don’t want them to stay too long on the ship,” he said. “The idea is once they incubate, they should move back to shore to start their company there.”
The boat itself will be a cruise ship anchored in place, Dascalescu said, and will “take off” in 2013. The model Blueseed is looking at is $30 million to buy, and while Blueseed declined to say how much cash they have raised so far, Dascalescu said the team has “bootstrapped a lot, and closed out its pre-seed funding round.” Internet business guru Peter Thiel is among its investors, according to Dascalescu.
In the next year, Blueseed will begin to seriously consider applicants for the venture. And Dascalescu is confident the incubator will be responsible for creating many jobs along the way.
Who is this for? – The world’s best entrepreneurs and visionaries
The boldest, brightest, and most talented tech entrepreneurs from around the world. Plus the individuals and organizations that support and invest in them.
Where will it be? – Right near Silicon Valley
On a ship anchored half an hour (12 miles) from Silicon Valley, in international waters outside the jurisdiction of the United States.
What does it cost? – Around $1,600 USD/person/month
We’ll charge a combination of rent and equity to accommodate the stage of your startup. The price per person will include living and office space, and will range from $1200 for a shared cabin to $3000 for a top-tier single accommodation cabin.
Why should it be done? – Because innovation is awesome
The world’s best entrepreneurs should be able to gather and collaborate in one place, and not be limited by antiquated work visa restrictions.
How can I get aboard? – Do something that matters, and be awesome
Get referred to us through a reputable angel, venture capital firm, entrepreneurs network, or trusted contact. Or surprise us.
Can I legally work? – On Blueseed, yes.
You can legally earn an income working on your startup while on the Blueseed vessel regardless of your nationality, but you can’t legally earn a paycheck while visiting the mainland, unless you have a US work visa or are a US permanent resident.
Can I travel to the mainland? – Yes
You can travel to the mainland using business/tourist visas (B1/B2), for up to 180 days/year (these are significantly easier to obtain than work-visas). US residents can travel to Blueseed at any time.
What happens when I succeed and outgrow Blueseed? – We help you move to the mainland.
Silicon Valley is the best place in the world to scale a company, and once you’re large enough there are legal channels available to move into Silicon Valley proper. We will provide you with the resources and contacts you need to make the transition.
When are you launching? – In about two years
We plan to launch between Q3 2013 and Q1 2014.