In international waters just 12 nautical miles off the coast of Half Moon Bay, 1,000 foreign entrepreneurs are slated to live and work on an anchored converted cruise ship, providing Silicon Valley companies with what they need most: highly skilled programmers.
The location will also allow startup entrepreneurs from anywhere in the world to start or grow their business near Silicon Valley, without the need for a U.S. work visa.
Visa restrictions have long kept some foreign-born techies from working on U.S. soil but now one company has floated a new solution to the shortage by housing them offshore in the Pacific with Half Moon Bay serving as the ferry port.
Blueseed, which bills itself as “Silicon Valley’s visa-free offshore start-up community,” plans to launch in late 2013, offering living and office space in a modern tech environment known as the “Googleplex of the Sea.”
Plans include ferry service twice or more a day from Half Moon Bay, plus on-demand transportation using smaller ferries and helicopters.
The venture faces raising tens of millions of dollars to acquire and retrofit a suitable ship.
Still, plans are underway to have a wide assortment of living and office space packages for rent.
If Blueseed is funded, the price per person will include living and office space, and will range from $1,200 for a shared cabin to $3,000 for a top-tier single accommodation cabin, the company says.
Basic accommodations include catering and food services at cafes and 24-hour venues around the ship, recreational facilities including a full service gym, game rooms, and other entertainment venues, customizable individual or group office space in a variety of size and furnishing configurations, and a cost-effective, modern, business environment with low overhead.
Blueseed residents can legally earn an income working on their startup while on the Blueseed vessel regardless of their nationality, but they can't legally earn a paycheck while visiting the mainland, unless they have a U.S. work visa or are a U.S. permanent resident.
If an entrepreneur succeeds and outgrows Blueseed, the company will help them move to the mainland, the company says.
So far, more than 850 entrepreneurs from over 50 countries expressed interest in living on the ship, according to the company’s website.