Sink or Swim Contest Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the Sink or Swim Business Plan Contest!

There are vast profit opportunities for businesses located on the ocean. To encourage would-be entrepreneurs to explore how best to take advantage of the unique regulatory and physical advantages of oceanic real estate, we launched the Sink or Swim business plan contest. Entrants assumed their businesses would exist as one of many businesses aboard a platform 25 miles off the coast of a large first-world city, such as Miami or Shanghai.

Ranging from aquaculture to outsourcing, from virtual jurisdictions to an orphanage for the gifted, our winners show the wide range of possible seasteading businesses from over 40 original contestants. Deciding on five winners from this group was not an easy choice, given the outstanding quality of the entries. Many thanks to everyone who participated, and to the contest co-sponsors HumanIPO and Premium Advice.



$5000 Grand PrizeDelishus FishesMike Doty and Travis CannellMike Doty and Travis Cannell fleshed out the competitive advantages of fish farming on platforms in international waters.
$2000 Second Place WinnerBoundless Talent Consulting ServicesTheresa KleinTheresa Klein envisioned what foreign workers could accomplish locating in international waters without having to deal with worker visa restrictions.
$1500 HumanIPO FavoriteRes JudicataMichelle and Thrond ToftelyMichelle and Thrond Toftely showed how arbitration and dispute resolution mechanisms may be evolving away from traditional land-based governments in the near future.
$750 Most CreativeChildren of the SeaArthur BArthur B imagined how seasteads could give children from impoverished backgrounds a second chance at life by creating a school for gifted youth from around the world.
$750 Best Seasteading PRAquaculture Testbed and InvestmentRobert Lee and TeamRobert Lee and his team created a platform for the testing of new aquaculture technologies and models aboard seasteads.



$5000 Grand Prize Winner: Delishus Fishes — Mike Doty and Travis Cannell

Designer website –

Business Plan
Click here to download “Delishus Fishes” business plan.
SummaryDelishus Fishes will be a project to carry out contaminant free deep water seafood production using sustainable methods. It is committed to the improvement of taste and purity in seafood, providing excellent quality and nutritional value. The company will provide education, experience and research in the aquaculture field. This project will be Seastead based, supplying seafood for the national and international markets.
Mike Doty
Designer website
How did you first hear about the contest?I follow the Seasteading forums regularly. I first read about the contest in a blog post at
What inspired you to join the contest?I’ve been following offshore aquaculture for years and always thought it was an ideal fit for Seasteading. The Sink or Swim competition presented the perfect opportunity to get it all down on paper.
Tell us a bit about yourself.As firm believer in opening new frontiers, I support colonizing the oceans and outer space.I am a Mechanical Engineer, with a B.S. Degree in Engineering and Applied Science from the California Institute of Technology. While in school, I became a licensed private pilot and a NAUI certified scuba diver. I have enjoyed fishing on the lakes and oceans since childhood.


I have nine years of entrepreneurial experience in information technology. Prior to starting my computer service business, I spent 15 years as a mechanical engineer and a designer.

Drawing on my previous years of design experience in automotive, machinery, medical devices, and satellites, I now focus mainly on my computer business and cutting edge engineering projects. In addition to Seasteading, my avid pursuits are open source manufacturing, nanotechnology, and life extension. Developing resilient communities with sustainable nutritious food production using aquaculture, hydroponics, and aquaponics is a long term goal.

What inspires you most about seasteading?Colonizing the oceans is a natural next step, a stepping stone to colonizing space. The oceans are rich in energy, life, and raw materials. There is plenty of room for an emerging population to grow with a sustainable economy of abundance. As 3D printing, nanotechnology, and biotechnology develop, the oceans will be a renewable source of feedstocks such as polylactic acid grown from algae or seaweed. The oceans can also be thought of as a solar energy collector and heat sink occupying 70% of the earth’s surface. Historically, freedom and prosperity have flourished with the presence of a frontier, and the oceans can be that next frontier on our way to outer space.
Travis Cannell
How did you first hear about the contest?I first heard of the Sink or Swim contest on Facebook.
What inspired you to join the contest?I’ve been following offshore aquaculture for years and always thought it was an ideal fit for Seasteading. The Sink or Swim competition presented the perfect opportunity to get it all down on paper.
Tell us a bit about yourself.I’m an entrepreneur currently running RankPaid Media, an Internet marketing firm that specializes in paid search marketing.
What inspires you most about seasteading?The next logical place for mankind to leave its mark is on the Earth’s oceans. We have no infrastructure, no agriculture and are basically in a hunter/gatherer phase. What inspires me the most is the vast opportunity to industrialize the oceans, providing new resources for mankind’s future.

$2000 Second Place Winner: Boundless Talent Consulting — Theresa Klein

Business Plan

Click here to download “Boundless Talent Consulting” business plan
SummaryAmerican visa restrictions for foreign workers can cause delays of months or years before a foreign worker can enter the US. This problem is especially acute in high-tech sectors where there is a shortage of qualified technology professionals. By hosting workers on an offshore platform in international waters, we will enable US tech firms to start working with new foreign hires immediately, travelling out to the platform frequently, or telecommuting from within the same time zone.
Theresa Jean Klein
How did you first hear about the contest?A blog post on
What inspired you to participate in this contest?Well, I’ve had personal experience with the immigration system. I finally got my green card last year. So when the contest was advertised on Reason, I made the originally cynical suggestion that they could put immigrant tech workers on offshore platforms while they wait for work visas. That was originally intended to poke fun at the immigration policies of the US, but the more I thought about it, the more I kept thinking “Ya know, that could actually work.” So I got to thinking about how it would work logistically and whether it would be financially feasible, and doing a lot of research to support the idea online, and decided that I should enter the contest, since I was spending so much time thinking about it anyway. Also, I thought it would be a good experience to learn how to write a business plan, even if I didn’t win.
Tell us something about yourself.I am currently a grad student at the University of Arizona working in a doctorate in Electrical Engineering, specializing in robotics and artificial intelligence, with a minor in cognitive science. I am originally from Saskachewan, Canada. I came to the US in 1992 to go to Cornell University, with the desire to work in the space industry, but have been stymied by the immigration laws and ITAR regulations. I worked on the Iridium project and on the International Space Station as a systems engineer, but the combination of ITAR regulations and immigration laws eventually made it impossible to do anything. So I returned to school to pursue a doctorate while I waited for a visa via family sponsorship. I finally got a green card last year and am now completing my doctorate and hope to return to work in the private-sector space launch industry.
What inspires you most about seasteading?Much like the idea of space exploration, it’s about conquering a new frontier, one where people have the freedom to explore new types of society as well as personal opportunity.

$1500 HumanIPO Favorite: Res Judicata — Michelle and Thrond Toftely

Business Plan
Click here to download “Res Judicata” business plan
SummaryRes Judicata is a judicial service provider specializing in the creation of virtual jurisdictions for governments from local to national. By virtualizing the judicial process, governments can expect to substantially reduce the cost of court services.Res Judicata also provides low cost virtualized arbitration and mediation options for companies large and small, simple dispute resolution for individuals, and virtualized government services for governments of all sizes looking to streamline other services they provide. The virtualization of these processes ensure Res Judicata’s fee-based service is the lowest cost provider in the market, and most assuredly the quickest, easiest, and fairest method as well.
Michelle Toftely and Thrond Toftely
How did you first hear about the contest?We first learned about the Seastead Institute from reading about it in Reason Magazine. We saw the contest while browsing the Seastead Institute’s website.
What inspired you to participate in this contest?Using a seastead to launch an industry allows one to introduce competition into markets where it is difficult to do so, or where there is no competition (or market). This prospect is intriguing, but it also comes with challenges. When we were coming up with our concept, we thought about the typical businesses that would gravitate toward an unregulated, free, and unfettered legal regime and it seemed that most business of this type would invariably run into conflict with existing nation-states. We were seeking a business model where we could take advantage of the unique legal and regulatory environment that a seastead provides and also create symbiotic relationship with exiting nation-states. With this in mind, we proposed a business model that would create virtual jurisdictions and virtual governance options which would not only provide better options for existing nation-sates, but also competition where none really existed.
Tell us something about yourself.Michelle and Thrond both come to seasteading with a technology background – both work at Oracle Inc. in the Fusion Middleware division. Michelle graduated from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities with a B.S. in Biology. Thrond graduated from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities with a B.A. in Political Science and a J.D. from Hamline University. When we’re not working on business plans or for Oracle, we’re enjoying the good life with our three and a half year-old son and nine month-old daughter.
What inspires you most about seasteading?Seasteading is the next frontier. With seasteads as an option, anyone can move from any location and away from any objectionable situation and completely remake oneself in any manner. In the United States at least, we haven’t really had such an opportunity in over 150 years. It is exhilarating to think that we are on the cusp of something even greater than what we saw in during the American westward expansion. The possibilities are endless!

$750 Most Creative: Children of the Sea — Arthur B.

Business Plan
Click here to download “Children of the Sea” business plan
SummaryWhat investment has the highest return of all? It’s the human mind. The talent of scientists, artists, entrepreneurs has brought tremendous growth to humanity, for a relatively tiny cost. How many exceptional minds are growing up in the developing world, with no family, little food and no prospects. What if you could identify exceptionally gifted young orphans, adopt them, nurture them, and watch them change the world? That’s what “Children of the sea” is trying to achieve–changing the world by saving fifty children.
Arthur B
Designer website 
How did you first hear about the contest?I heard about the contest at the Seasteading booth at FreedomFest 2010.
What inspired you to join the contest?Seasteads have a regulatory comparative advantage but need to overcome technical difficulties. It is a fascinating challenge to conceive the kind of business who will strive in these conditions. The success of seasteading hinges on the success of these businesses. I didn’t just want to describe a typical seastead business, but also a business whose values embodied those of seasteading, a revolutionary hack.
Tell us something about yourself.I grew up in a large European capital and have been living in a large US city for the past five years where I work for a large financial company.
What inspires you most about seasteading?What inspires me the most about seasteading is the leverage provided by disruptive technologies, which is why I conceived this business plan to be disruptive as well.

$750 Best Seasteading PR: Aquaculture Testbed and Investment — Robert Lee

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