INHABITAT: Can you briefly tell us what you have in mind for your floating city off the coast of San Francisco?
Max Marty: Many entrepreneurs from all parts of the globe want to come to Silicon Valley to create their tech startups. In the past, this hasn’t been possible because the US visa system was not designed for it. Blueseed is going to change that. We’re creating a visa-free incubator for tech startups. A thousand of the world’s best entrepreneurs will get the chance to develop their ideas in an ecosystem designed for their success. And it’ll be just half an hour from the coastline by daily ferry access.
INHABITAT: Do you have any ideas for a name yet?
Max Marty: The company is named Blueseed, but we haven’t decided on a name for the ship yet. Perhaps we’ll crowdsource this in the near future.
INHABITAT: Paypal’s founder Peter Thiel is committed to helping you fund this project… any sense of how much funding you’re going to need?
Max Marty: Peter is coming in to the 500K USD “seed funding” round that we’re currently raising to do the R&D work needed. The project’s total up front cost will be around 15-35millon USD.
INHABITAT: This new set of concept drawings is being published for the first time today. How close are you to finalizing a design?
Max Marty: There are three options. Leasing an existing vessel, purchasing an existing vessel, and building a new one. The first two options would of course require some retrofitting to suit our needs. Each option has its pros and cons, but I’d say the first two options are far more likely than designing our own vessel. The more existing structures and technologies we can use the better.
INHABITAT: Some of our readers expressed concern that the floating city will resemble a drilling environment. How would you put these concerns to rest?
Max Marty: At this time we’re not looking into floating platforms. Instead, we’re looking at existing vessel designs such as cruise ships and accomodation barges. If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you know it’s nothing like an oil rig.
INHABITAT: What are your chief environmental concerns for the project?
Max Marty: Broadly speaking, environmental concerns can be put into two categories. Waste management and energy generation. There are many good remedies for waste management that turn waste water into water that’s almost clean enough to drink. There are also many renewable energy sources, including sources that can be used on ships (such as wind, solar, wave energy harnessing, ocean thermal energy generation, etc). The problem is figuring out how to do these in a way that is both green and cost effective for our application. We’ve been making some headway here but would love to connect with individuals or organizations that could work with us on solutions to these questions.
INHABITAT: And how can these concerns be converted into opportunities?
Max Marty: There are many eco startups and cleantech companies out there with products that could work for a project like this. This would be an opportunity for them to demonstrate the feasibility of their products on the high seas while showcasing it to the world. This incubator will be a great hub of creativity and talented entrepreneurs from around the world, so if their products are successfully helping us generate the power we need to treat wastewater, they will be globally recognized as the tech leaders in this market.