I was very lucky to sail all around the world with the Unreasonable at Sea crew.
A radical experiment in global entrepreneurship to combat the greatest challenges of our time. 20 Mentors. 100 days. 1 ship. 13 countries. 11 ventures. 1 belief that entrepreneurship will change the world
Unreasonable at Sea: An Update From Cesar Harada of Protei
4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Editor's Note: This post marks the second in a short series we're featuring on the Unreasonable at Sea program. Check out the first installment "Entrepreneurs Take on the World -- By Cruise Ship" Call it an aquatic update.
WHY WE ARE DOING THIS
In a world where communication technologies are nearly ubiquitous, where innovations in healthcare have doubled life-expectancy in just a century, and where dictatorships are being toppled by bottom-up revolutions propelled by social networks, it is hard not to be an optimist. That said, at Unreasonable, although we are optimistic about these trends, we consider ourselves “impatient optimists”. We are guided by a belief that although technology is rapidly solving some of the greatest challenges of our time, it’s not doing so fast enough and its benefits have yet to reach the most marginalized amongst us. Even with amazing advances in inclusive technologies, 2 billion people still live on less than $2 a day, another billion don’t have access to clean drinking water, and climate change is accelerating at exponential speeds. It’s our optimistic belief that entrepreneurs leveraging technology will help solve these grand challenges and it is our impatience that leads to a belief we cannot help them do so fast enonugh.
WHAT WE ARE DOING
Unreasonable at Sea, a portfolio company of Unreasonable Group, is a radical experiment in global entrepreneurship, design-thinking, and education, designed to scale-up effective technological solutions to the greatest challenges of our time. We do this by hedging our bets on the most thrifty, resourceful, creative, and disruptive class amongst us: entrepreneurs. We are a mentor-driven accelerator for tech-entrepreneurs who desire to take their ventures into new international markets, and we choose to work exclusively with companies working on “intractable” social and environmental challenges. We could think of no better way to accelerate our portfolio companies‘ ability to scale across borders than to put them all on one ship, align them with some of the world’s greatest mentors, and set sail more than 25,000 nautical miles while visiting 13 countries over the course of 100 days. Click here to watch our video that explains everything in 2 minutes!. We are now finished with our inaugural voyage, and you can click here to watch the web series we made following the entire journey! Will we run a second voyage? We are currently in the planning phases and if we do launch a V2 it will set sail in the years to come.
WHY THIS IS UNREASONABLE
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man [and woman].”– George Bernard Shaw
If George Bernard Shaw is right, if all progress depend on the unreasonable person, than we cannot afford to not bet on unreasonable people. We exist today to support and accelerate the growth of the world’s most unreasonable tech-entrepreneurs (i.e. those hellbent on solving the hardest problem-sets of the 21st century and who will settle for nothing less than global scale). This was the same guiding intention that led our founder to create the Unreasonable Institute and Unreasonable at Sea is our way of experimenting with a new approach. Instead of uniting startups in the entrepreneurial-hub of Boulder (as Unreasonable Institute does) we partnered with Semester at Sea and Stanford’s d.school to launch this accelerator on a ship as it set sail nearly circumnavigating the globe. We hypothesized that the outcomes of such an unlikely mix of elements: uniting some of the world’s greatest thinkers and doers, in an international context, over an extended period of time, exposing them to 13 international markets, and restricting them to the close quarters of a ship, would yield uncommon and incredibly powerful results… the type that can have a positive dent on history. Reflecting back on this inaugural voyage around the world, we are humbled by the success of the program and the incredible outcomes that have come from it. click here to watch the web series we made following the entire journey!
WHY IT’S VALUABLE FOR OUR COMPANIES
Over the course of the 100 day accelerator, the 11 companies we selected all had the chance to…
- explore the local economies of 13 countries where they will experiment in taking their technology to market and will bridge connections with top government officials, foundations, venture capitalists, and serial entrepreneurs,
- bring 2-3 core members of their founding team for the entirety of the program
- be mentored by 20 world-class serial entrepreneurs and innovators who will join us on the ship,
- be connected to and form relationships with top-tier globally focused venture capital funds and foundations,
- go through an intensive accelerator led by the founder of the Unreasonable Institute and the co-founder of Stanford’s d-school,
- live, travel, and work with 10 other extraordinary companies and their teams,
- live, mentor, and learn from the over 600 undergraduates who will be studying abroad on Semester at Sea throughout the entire voyage, and
- circumnavigate the globe on Semester at Sea’s MV Explorer (fastest cruise-liner in the world).
- Learn first hand what it takes to remain on the bleeding edge of technology, trends, innovation, and international business in a rapidly changing world.
WHO IS BEHIND THIS
Daniel Epstein, the founder of the Unreasonable Institute and George Kembel, the co-founder & Executive Director of Stanford’s d.school teamed up with Semester at Sea, the only global shipboard education program of its type in the world, to launch this program: An experiment in transnational entrepreneurship that set sail in January 2013.
Just to mention a few of our mentors:
- Megan Smith (Vice President Googleat Google Inc.)
- Matt Mullenweg (Founder of Wordpress)
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Nobel Peace Laureate)
- Scott Belsky (Co-Founder & CEO of Behance)
- George Kembel (Co-Founder of Stanford d.school)
- Kamran Elahian (Founder of 10 companies: 3 failed, 4 were acquired, and 3 went public)
- Tom Chi (Experience Lead, Google X)
- Pascal Finette (Director of Innovation Group at Mozilla)
- Hunter Lovins (Time Magazine Hero of the Planet).