Former Seasteading Institute legal and business strategists Dario Mutabdzija and Max Marty continue to make waves with their “shipsteading” startup, Blueseed. Shortly after an article on Blueseed appeared on ArticStartup.com, the widely-read technology blog TechCrunch picked up on the duo’s plans to create a visa-free offshore technology incubator. Blueseed aims to enable face-to-face cooperation between Silicon Valley tech companies and skilled foreign workers who are unable to form their own startups in the United States due to onerous immigration restrictions.
The TechCrunch piece also comes after Marty pitched Blueseed to a panel of angel investors at JumpStartDays, a monthly event at which tech startups in their early fundraising stages receive mentoring and resources to accelerate their development. Blueseed is now raising seed capital to fund the retrofitting of a ship or barge into a hybrid residence/office space, which will be stationed 12 miles off the coast of Silicon Valley, allowing would-be immigrants to meet in person with domestic clients and employers, who will be just a 30 minute ferry ride from the shipstead.
Marty and Mutabdzija are closely attuned to the shared interests between the tech industry and the nascent seasteading sector (after all, seasteading is fundamentally an attempt to inject Silicon Valley-style innovation into the stagnating government sector), and Marty tailored his pitch to fit that theme.
“We’re all here because the magic happens in Silicon Valley–this is where awesome companies are born. This is where talent comes. This is where investors like you come to hear pitches like this,” Marty began, “But there are people all around the world who also want to be here and also want to try their hands at forming great companies, but aren’t able to do so because of the U.S.’s work visa restrictions.”
A far cry from Stephen Colbert’s recent portrayal of seasteads as “libertarian islands” designed to shield the rich from political turmoil on land, Blueseed will offer hope to enterprising foreigners who come from poorly governed countries with few opportunities to use their skills. The audience seemed to immediately get Marty’s message, as evidenced by their mirthful applause midway through the pitch–Blueseed was the only of the day’s twelve pitches to receive such applause. Cyan Banister, the author of the TechCrunch blog post, reaffirmed the unilateral unpopularity of immigration restrictions among Silicon Valley types, many of whom have themselves dealt with the nightmare of navigating the laws regulating skilled worker visas. Banister lists several Silicon Valley giants who immigrated to the U.S., reminding us that the founder of the next PayPal or Facebook might be prevented from realizing his or her potential if immigration restrictions continue on their current increasingly burdensome path.
We at The Seasteading Institute eagerly await the next development for Blueseed!