back to article Pirate island attracts more than 100 startup tenants

Over 100 international tech companies have registered their interest in the floating geek city, Blueseed, which will be launched next year in international waters outside of Silicon Valley. The visa-free, start-up friendly concept launched late last year aims to create a fully commercial technology incubator where global …


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    1. JeevesMkII

      Re: 18 lifeboats for 1000 techho-entrepreneurs

      The stock market is sinking! Abandon ship, VCs and journalists first!

    2. GreenOgre

      Re: 18 lifeboats for 1000 techho-entrepreneurs

      There will be 18 dedicated lifeboats,

      any additional demand will be fulfilled by "The Cloud".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 18 lifeboats for 1000 techho-entrepreneurs

      Yeah, those are the VIP lifeboats.

      So while the VIPs are all fighting over each other and trying to figure out how to get those things launched, I'd be heading to one of the inflatable rafts (which you can't see on the picture). All those barrel canisters on ships- they all hold self-inflating rafts. Pop it open, let it fall into the sea, then dive in after it.

      You'll be in the inflatable raft before the VIPs have finished arguing about who should remove the cover of the boat.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: 18 lifeboats for 1000 techho-entrepreneurs

        Modern lifeboats take quite a lot of people.

        100-man boats are easily available, so that's a possible 1800 lifeboat capacity - before you even start to consider the liferafts.

        Of course, you've forgotten to include the crew. There are probably going to be 1000 crew members to run the vessel - it's not just serviced apartments attached to office premises.

        They have to generate their electricity, maintain the propulsion (you can't just anchor that far out), plus all the general maintenance of a steel vessel in an ocean and the sailing.

        I think there are two real killers of this project though. Latency and fuel.

        Latency of satellite internet links can easily top 500ms. Laser is only viable in good visibility and within sight of shore, so any laser link is going to fail much of the time.

        Then there's the fuel - they are going to have to bunker a lot of fuel simply to run the ship.

        1. pukepail

          Re: 18 lifeboats for 1000 techho-entrepreneurs

          Perhaps they could run fiber out to a floating buoy and either direct attach an umbilical or use laser/rf if they need to drift.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 18 lifeboats for 1000 techho-entrepreneurs

      Can I therefore be the first to name this hi-tech development "Silicon Titanic"

  1. Winkypop Silver badge


    Who'll stop all the pirates!

    1. Timmay

      Re: But

      The MPAA of course!

      1. LaeMing

        Re: But

        MPAA hired thugs Vs Central-South-American sea-pirates.

        I'd certainly pay full rights to see that!

  2. Anonymous Coward


    I reckon El Reg is really behind this scheme. Take a closer look at the photo, accompanying the article. That 'revamped luxury cruise liner' looks suspiciously like it's made of Playmobil, to me.

  3. Chris_Maresca

    I've talked to the a bunch of times...

    Specifically with Dan Dascalescu (the CIO) and I've seen the investor pitch. A couple of things:

    1. They have quite a lot of funding and support (part. Peter Thiel)

    2. An ocean going barge is the first conversion (already under way, apparently)

    3. OPEX is around ~$15 million/year IRC (with ~$38 billion in venture in SV, it's a rounding error)

    4. Contrary to what Jake things, people are NOT commuting from BlueSeed (and far more that 1000 people commute from Half Moon Bay every day...). Only about two dozen people will likely go out a day, if that, mostly investors and other team members that need a physical meeting (sic)* And the Half Moon Bay harbor is very underutilized at the moment, so is the airport.

    Their biggest problem is actually the revenue model. They are functioning like an incubator and hoping to make the majority of their returns through equity stakes in the startups they host. This is completely untenable as they cannot predict exits, which means they will have to have at least 5 years of funding to live through early no exit years. Even if they can get some successful exits, their own IRR numbers are not that good compared to other investments.

    In the end, I'll bet they get money from strategic funds rather than venture. People with a vested interest in having such a thing offshore and for whom returns are not so critical.

    All that said, if this catches on, it's likely the US gov't will take an interest. Whether that's a good or bad interest depends, no one knows.

    * in fact, the Half Moon Bay business community is cautiously supportive -

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: I've talked to the a bunch of times...

      "Contrary to what Jake things, people are NOT commuting from BlueSeed"

      I'm not wrong. Because Blueseed doesn't exist.

      "(and far more that 1000 people commute from Half Moon Bay every day...).

      I no-longer live in Half Moon Bay for a reason. The commute is a bitch.

      "Only about two dozen people will likely go out a day, if that,"

      Post proof or shut the fuck up. If they don't need to leave the boat, why do they have to leave wherever it is that they are living now to do the same work?

      "mostly investors and other team members that need a physical meeting (sic)*"

      ::snickers:: "We're going on a boat-ride & suckering people ... want in?"

      "And the Half Moon Bay harbor is very underutilized at the moment"

      Questionable statement. Harbors are almost as utilized as they need to be.

      "so is the airport."

      ::snort:: You've never flown in to (K)HAF, have you?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting concept

    But it seems more like a prison ship or perhaps a work camp for foreigners, ideally suited to the modern paranoid state.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Interesting concept/Divine Projects

      Hi, JustaKOS,

      I was thinking along the lines of an exotic erotic floating Priory epic encounter, with the temporarily unhinged and decidedly crooked on board sharing great ideas for realisation, ...... and what a real creative fab lab metamorphosis parallel, that would be for the Cosmically Insane and Delightful :-) .......

      If you can adjust and steer the path of reality, by virtual remote control of command with creative communication and steganographic messaging, is the manner and substance of reality decidedly virtual and surreal in Live Operational Virtual Environment Fields of Great Games in Full Swing and and at Intelligence Work, Resting in Play. .... and Parading Bold Semantic Moves to Guarantee Power Input for Guaranteed Clean Joint Mutual Power Output.

      Ye Olde, Have Cake and Eat it, Magic Trick. A Firm Knights Templar Favourite to Graciously Perform and Deliver Free Gratis ........ just for the Satisfaction of Pleasure and Desire, Raw Sex and Passionate Love and for Release of more Heavy Fuel to that Raging Fire Storm/Sweet Sticky TEMPEST Capture.

      FlorID AI Script is just so Delightfully Accommodating.

      1. jake Silver badge



        Just no.

  5. El Zorro


    Will they be building another boat for all the telephone sanitisers

  6. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Lets all get away from it all

    I reckon a few thousand containers held together with hydraulic generators would make a nice floating island. The ones on the outside would help damp the waves for the old hacks in the middle. You'd get a four bedroomed house for about 10 grand and you could could even focus focus groups together and accidentally cut them loose.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems a bit daft

    The US is not short of space. Seems to me if they were really serious about this sort of thing they would simply hive off a small chunk of California as a special economic area, like what Hong Kong or Macau is to mainland China.

    A thousand CS grads cooped up in an enclosed space in a hot climate sounds like hell in the Pacific to me.

    1. Anonymous C0ward
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Seems a bit daft

      What are they going to do about (the lack of) women?

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Seems a bit daft

        "....around 1,000 live-in entrepreneurs......" and presumbly the odd visiting VC or several.

        What would they need women for? They've got their right hands and an internet connection......

      2. Mr Lion

        Re: Seems a bit daft

        "What are they going to do about (the lack of) women?"

        What do you think? The possible boon to the onshore economy will certainly not be lost on local regulators...

      3. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seems a bit daft

        "What are they going to do about (the lack of) women?"

        What makes you think there won't be any women? Or was that a joke? I can't really tell...

      4. ManxPower

        Re: Seems a bit daft

        See: situational homosexuality

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seems a bit daft

        There will be a floating brothel docked to port side. As I say above, this is a trafficking operation, after all.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seems a bit daft

        lack of women?

        Let there be no doubt, this is not going to be the Homer's island of Calypso

        But it will feel like you've been there for 7 years

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Re: Seems a bit daft

      "The US is not short of space. Seems to me if they were really serious..."

      That all depends on who they are. The people talking about this probably want to do it without interference from the US gov authorities (taxes, who can do what, what nationality you are, etc.). However, they don't have sovreign rights to carve up a piece of California to be a lawless sub-state. Hence saying that they will do it in international waters, nothing to do with the gov.

      The other they is the government, and they are more than happy with the laws they have about taxes and who is allowed visit / work there, etc. They probably don't want to relax their laws anywhere, and would probably rather extend them over the entire planet, thank you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seems a bit daft

        Well, the proliferation of city states around the world would indicate the idea has been successfully sold many times in the past to all sorts of at their time powerful nations. Don't see why it couldn't be done again.

        Creating an artificial island just for immigration and tax reasons is mental, especially when in this age a decent internet connection means as much virtual contact as anyone could care for. Besides, if the bay area is downwind of it too many days of the year it's likely to get torpedoed.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seems a bit daft

      The best part is, it's not a hot climate so far north. They're going to be cold and seasick.

  8. Benjamin 4

    Pity. When I saw the headline I thought this was the real pirate island the pirate bay was talking about setting up years ago.

  9. Thomas 18


    That is all

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Rapture

      I was thinking more a physical rendering of Sadville myself.

    2. Daniel B.

      Andrew Ryan's dream lives on

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hang on a tick

    The artists impression shows roof gardens and the like. Techo' s don't do "outdoors".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hang on a tick

      The roof gardens are like those pictures you see of every new 'largest' airliner, with a bar, tasteful neon lighting, and a spiral staircase. What you actually get is another 45 economy seats and a stainless steel galley full of miniature coke cans, trays of flabby vegetables, and $9 beers.

      In this case, I imagine the outcome will, if anything, be 18 acres of tar paper and those aluminum bendy straw vent things. And while the renders will show an interior lined with glass walls, thick carpet, and 15 foot ceilings sparkling with LED lighting, reality will find row upon row of off-white hallways, off-white offices, off-white suspended ceilings, and (to satisfy the rental agreement requirements) a half-broken foosball table, on its side, next to the ice machine on level C3.

      Oh, and that dark brown / red speckle hard-nodule carpet that costs .35 cents per square foot and hurts if you walk on it without socks.

    2. jake Silver badge

      @AC 09:39 (was: Re: Hang on a tick)

      Rephrase that ... "Idiot technos don't do outdoors".

      This techno has just finished planting ~4 acres of veggies ... Hacking food is probably the most important technology that good old homo-sap knows, after potable water transportation.

  11. DrXym Silver badge

    High risk venture

    The US will simply harass this project out of existence even assuming it is technically and economically viable enough to happen. US authorities will raid the ship, disrupt data / voice communications with the shore, harass customers doing business with it, freeze US bank accounts of anybody onboard and generally life miserable as possible. It only takes one rotten apple tenant on the whole ship to give them any excuse they like to do any or all of this. It can't succeed.

  12. scub


    this just a tax dodge? Will half or any ppl registered as living there actually live there? Is the $1200 a month invoice enough proof?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bingo! We have a winner!

      And the boy gets a cigar. Yes, that's exactly what this scheme is really about, and the rest of the marketing and hype is just fluff to dress it up in. Non-doms ahoy!

    2. The Indomitable Gall

      Re: tax

      What's the current situation with the liner "The World"? It seems like we've already got an example of a mobile offshore tax haven, and one that is quite open about it. Why would anyone need to be clandestine?

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: tax

      It was intended to have tech workers who couldn't get US residency close enough to be able to make face-face meetings in Ca.

      Since the US can stop any of them visiting the US from the boat, and VCs who were interested can just as easily travel to Europe/S.America etc then it's not clear that it makes sense.

      It could be used by US citizens to 'live' there 6months of the year to be non-resident for tax - like London bankers. But the US is a lot less forgiving on this 'arrangement' than the UK - US citizens pay tax in the USA on their worldwide income, wherever they live. So if you are just going to lie about where you live - you might aswell just lie about your income anyway

      Personally I think it's all either a pipedream AND/OR a way of trying to show up how stupid US immigration is.

  13. jai

    familiar idea

    Wasn't this an idea in a Neil Stephenson book? or was it a William Gibson one?

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: familiar idea

      [Snow Crash] has The Raft, but it's built of refugee ships mostly, which is pretty different.

      1. Someral

        Re: familiar idea

        Raft had a decommissioned US carrier as core.

        I would hope we could sell one of our new UK carriers to this project. The first one gets put in mothballs immediately the second is built so we have a spare.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. David Evans

      Re: familiar idea

      A Bruce Sterling one actually - Islands in the Net (although Neal Stephenson has touched on the idea a couple of times as well as have others like John Courtenay Grimwood).

      Frankly the biggest issue with this whole idea is the country they've chosen to anchor off. Access to Silicon Valley is all very nice, but American security paranoia and the IRS make the whole thing untenable. They'd be better off getting the Canadians to lease an island off BC or something.

  14. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  15. pierce

    surfs up, anyone?

    does anyone involved have a clue how ROUGH the East Pacific ocean is?!? and there's no anchorages out there, its deep ocean floor bottom, the continental shelf drops off very steeply on the west coast of North America.

    this is truly looney tunes stuff, could only have been conceived to defraud investors.

  16. EvanPyle

    Year 1:

    1000 tech start ups

    Year 2:

    10 successful start ups, 990 Drug lords.

    1. NukEvil

      No, year 2 will be 10 successful start ups, 988 freetards, and 2 drug lords to rule them all.

  17. mraak

    Green Card

    Love it or hate it, whoever can get one proves that he's willing to go through all kinds of sh** and bureaucracy probably really deserves a stay.

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