The world's first floating startup community is gaining steam.
Blueseed, a company that wants to house entrepreneurs aboard a vessel anchored near Silicon Valley, has announced that it will set sail before 2014. Nearly 150 technology startups have said they're interested in building businesses on the high seas, according to a report recently released by Blueseed.
The idea behind Blueseed is to provide a visa-free locale where foreign entrepreneurs can create technology companies that utilize resources in Silicon Valley without having to deal with the cumbersome process of obtaining a U.S. visa.
Rent aboard the ship will cost around $1,600 a month plus the equity stakes that Blueseed takes in each resident business.
"The world's best entrepreneurs should be able to gather and collaborate in one place, and not be limited by antiquated work visa restrictions," Blueseed's site says.
The startup world has called upon the U.S. government in recent years to reform its immigration laws in a way that makes it easier for foreign entrepreneurs to build businesses in America. Yet such efforts have largely failed, as broader immigration debates in Congress have roiled legislation that would create a so-called "startup visa."
According to Blueseed's recent survey, 25 percent of the people considering the program said that a "critical" reason for their interest in Blueseed is it provides an "alternative to having to get U.S. work visas" for company founders.
Yet, surprisingly, 21 percent of respondents said that U.S. work visas were "not important." At the same time, 53 percent described the environment on the ship as a "critical" reason for their interest, and 27.5 percent said the "coolness factor" and the ability to derive fame and press from the experience was critical.
To stay true to its original mission, Blueseed may want do some extra vetting of its applicants to ensure that its inaugural class of maritime entrepreneurs is actually in need of an alternative to a visa, rather than just seeking some extra exposure.