It may sound entirely fantastic, but if you ask Dario Mutabdzija or Max Marty, founders of project Blueseed, not only is the premise of a Silicon Valley that floats on water possible, it is soon to become a reality.
Blueseed will be the world’s first floating technology park, a veritable Silicon Valley on water, anchored in international waters just off the coast of Silicon Valley. In Blueseed, companies from around the world will be able to conduct business and the best part about this potential venture is that visitors to this floating business complex will not be needing a visa to visit. As it is on international waters, all visitors need is a passport.
This ambitious project, tentatively slated to set sail sometime towards the end of the next year, is the brainchild of Mutabdzija and Marty, who are busy trying to finance the project that will eventually house up to 250 companies from some 52 countries. The whole idea behind Blueseed is to allow businesses access to Silicon Valley and vice versa without the legal red tape of acquiring visas and enabling face to face interaction, which Mutabdzija says is important. “A lot of people say, 'I'd like to go to Silicon Valley', but there is no way for them to do it. 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,” said Mutabdzija, according to a report by Daily Mail.
Blueseed itself is expected to be a remodeled cruise liner or barge and residents, while living and conducting business on the ship itself, will be able to visit the mainland, in this case Silicon Valley, by getting temporary business or tourist visas. Tentative rents for Blueseed will see around $1,600 charged for monthly rate for an office, while $1,200 charged for a live/work space with Blueseed taking a 6.5 per cent cut in shares of the companies it will house.
Reacting to the news, some analysts have been critical of the venture, with Bob Dane, of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, saying, “I would say the whole thing is a perfect metaphor for how in corporate America the practice to grow talent and incubate business locally is drifting away - quite literally.”
But others are supportive, saying that Blueseed highlights the problematic US immigration system. “The ship may sound like a crazy idea but it illustrates how seriously flawed the immigration system here is,” said John Feinblatt of the Partnership for a New Economy.
At present, Bluseed is trying to raise between $10 to $30 million for the project for a possible launch at the end of 2013.