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Discover Technopolis - the world's first tech island nation

In a world not ready for their ideas, which shuns their fashion sense and makes constant annoying demands for the Wi-Fi password, many techies have dreamed of a utopia where they could live in peace, away from the people that don’t understand them. Finally, that dream is now possible. Forget Silicon Valley. Forget London Tech City. Welcome to Caspak, the world’s first startup island.

Also known as Technopolis, the micronation – an entity which claims to be an independent nation or state but is not officially recognised by anyone in a suit with money or power – is the brain child of Justin Theodore Huntington-Clemence, Chief Operating Ninja (CON) of AR/VR startup, Invisibly.

“This island was originally a special Scout-hut, but they abandoned it after a few of the kids froze to death or were maybe eaten by whales, penguins or bears, depending on who you ask,” he told us. “I hear they’ve bought another island just off the Danish coast as a safer alternative. But we’re not afraid of the wildlife or the elements… and so we just moved in.”

Located around 250 miles north of the Chucki Sea – the space of water between Alaska and Russia –the isle-fort of Caspak was built to by the Russian military in the early 1700s to stave the threat of any North American Vikings still sailing in the area, and can reach temperatures as low as -20°C (-4°F) in winter. “It’s a bit cold, but I suppose that’s why we developed a ‘Graze-box-for-thermal-socks’ app,” Huntington-Clemence said, referring to the nation’s arctic app smash, SockBoxly.

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The Appeal of Technopolis

Due to Caspak’s pseudo-independence it’s attractive to companies looking to avoid tax and government spying. Super-security app Pluggitup and Cloud provider SpaciousaaS both have servers present, as do various Bitcoin startups. “It’s great here,” says perennially paranoid Bitcoin evangelist N00bliOUS1. “The government can’t read our thoughts here and if anyone gets kidnapped, we’ll know about it. We all wear smartwatches so everyone knows where everyone is on the island at all times.”

Despite being a seven-hour AirBnb-for-ferries [aka Floater] ride away from the nearest settlement, the island isn’t bereft of creature comforts. Internet is provided by customised hot air balloons based on stolen plans from Google’s Project Loon, warmth is provided by using servers as heaters (an idea originating in Germany), while electricity comes from a combination of wind, solar and wave energy, and AA batteries donated via crowdfunding sites. The island’s economy is based on its own digital currency, iLandCoin, but with so many “sharing economy” startups on the island, bartering for services is commonplace; a “mentor me for food” session takes place every Wednesday in front of the shrine dedicated to Steve Jobs.

Aside from the geographical isolation, Technopolis is very particular over who it lets in. e-Citizenship from Estonia is an essential, and there’s a mandatory coding test at the harbour’s immigration office. As well as a presentation of your app ideas, a technology stack including at least one piece of wearable tech, a Linux device and a Raspberry Pi is recommended. “We’re very open and welcoming, but at the same time we’re very protective of what we’ve built here,” says Huntington-Clemence. “We don’t want anyone who doesn’t subscribe to our philosophy, won’t test my new UI or doesn’t have at least some VC cash.”

A history of Tech Independence

Although it’s the first to achieve its goals, Huntington-Clemence and the people of Techopolis weren’t the first to dream of an independent tech hub. In 2013, Silicon Valley investor Tim Draper proposed breaking California up into six separate states, including the Valley – which would have become the richest state in the US. Though his plan was eventually turned down, Draper isn’t giving up. As recently as last week he was reportedly planning to dig a moat and build a fence around his proposed Silicon State, as soon as someone develops an Uber for Moat-digging and fence-building.

PayPal founder Peter Thiel is also working on his own tech island. The Billionaire is planning to create a floating Libertarian Utopian Seastead to escape government regulations, foster innovation and generally do what they like. Thiel couldn’t be reached for comment, but an unnamed source claims Theil was reportedly ready to move to the isle until he found out where it was and what the climate was like. “Maybe when global warming heats it up a bit,” he was rumoured to say.

In an extra attempt for recognition on a wider scale, Technopolis has decided to become the first “Twinned Tech Hub,” and formed a pact with Lewisham Tech City. The two hubs will exchange interns, interactive business cards and lenseless glasses to celebrate their bond. The dishevelled-looking director of LTC was very happy with the news. “Does this mean we’ll finally get some investment?” he asked, before demonstrating his latest clone of Flappy Bird and asking for seed money or spare change. Jon Rose, founder of rival startup hub Croydon Tech City, could be seen spitting feathers at the back of the press conference.

 

Have an enjoyable April Fool’s Day everybody.

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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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