Start-Ups

Silicon valley takes to the high seas--sort of

To get past government regulations that prevent budding entrepreneurs from getting H-1B visas, one company builds a boat and puts it 12 miles off the coast of California.

What do you do if you're Silicon Valley and you want to attract budding entrepreneurs from other countries, but you have the government restriction that the government doesn't issues work visas for entrepreneurs? Why, you build a boat, that's what you do! (H-1B visas must be sponsored by an established U.S. employer; there is no equivalent for a non-U.S. citizen who wants to found the next Google or Intel on American shores.)  Dan Dascalescu, CIO of Blueseed, points out that their focus isn't replacing H-1B visas (since those are for employees); rather, they're providing a way for entrepreneurs to come to Silicon Valley, because "There are simply no US visas available for entrepreneurs."

The boat, named Blueseed, is located 12 miles off the coast of California. It has room for 1,000 or so entrepreneurs, and will feature onboard medical services, a concierge, 24-7 security, full-service gym, dining, shopping, and just about any other amenity you can think of (which, in my case, would have to include a Dramamine dispenser).  Rent is about $1,600 monthly rent per person (and the company that owns the boat will get an equity stake in each of the startups on board).

Max Marty, Blueseed's CEO, told InformationWeek that the goal of this venture is to foster startups until they're large enough that U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services "takes them seriously.  Then the organization is better equipped to go through the process of becoming a land-based employer.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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