SAN JOSE (CBS 5) – A company that made news last year when it announced designs to build a fully-functioning startup community 12 miles off of Half Moon Bay returned to San Jose Monday in hopes of finding funding for a scaled-down plan.

The company, Blueseed, had previously talked about building a floating platform with homes and work spaces. Placing the community in international waters would allow Silicon Valley startups to get around costly and time-consuming work visas. In San Jose Monday, CEO Max Marty said he is now leaning toward retrofitting a used cruise ship for $30 million to $80 million instead of building the platform village from scratch. Making the plan more affordable.

The community would still allow workers to get to the mainland on tourist or business visas, which are easier to get. But the plan still lacks funding.

Prominent venture capitalist Peter Thiel has promised half a million dollars in seed money, but has not yet written a check.

Researcher Vivek Wadhwa said the idea is interesting, but most high-tech entrepreneurs are married with kids. That could be a problem on a cruise ship.

“I’d love to see lots of companies come out of this. Any effort is welcome, but this is only a band-aid. That’s where the problem is. It’s a drop in the ocean,” said Wadhwa.

Still, the plan could be a blueprint for companies to hack immigration regulations. Marty said 200 startups have expressed interest.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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