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Entrepreneurs eager to board floating startup incubator

Posted on May 9, 2012
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Canadians among startups interested in being part of Blueseed

blueseed

Nearly 140 startups from more than 40 nations have expressed interest in jumping aboard Blueseed, a floating startup community for tech entrepreneurs that aims to offer a visa-free incubator environment on board a ship in international waters near Silicon Valley.

Among them so far are seven Canadians, representing 5 per cent of the total and fourth in the ranking of nations, according to a new survey from Blueseed, which aims to launch in the third quarter of 2013.

The venture, the brainchild of two entrepreneur immigrants to the United States that launched last year, wants to create a floating incubator for tech startups parked in international waters so that a visa to work in the United States will not be required. But it will be near enough to Silicon Valley to give those aboard access to the investors, mentoring and other goodies of the valley; there would be daily ferry service connecting the two.

The venture aims to have room for up to 1,000 entrepreneurs paying $1,200 to $3,000 (U.S.) a month to live aboard; Blueseed also aims to take a small stake in the companies. Most likely, home would be a decommissioned luxury cruise liner, which the founders have estimated could cost up to $25-million to retrofit.

The biggest draw for the entrepreneurs, according to the survey, would be living and working in an “awesome startup and technology-oriented space.” Next important would be proximity to Silicon Valley investors. Other reasons include the coolness factor, a streamlined legal and regulatory environment, an alternative to having to get a U.S. work visa and ease of finding talent.

More than a third — 36.7 per cent — of respondents said they would move in immediately if Blueseed could meet their needs now; another 28.8 per cent would want three to six months and 21.6 per cent would be ready in six to 12 months.

The most interest came from the United States, followed by India, Australia and then Canada.

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