Curtis Duggan: Hey everybody. Welcome back to remotely serious. I'm here with Jay Robertson, the VP of development at Prospera in Honduras and Nicholas Ansinger, who is the general partner at Infinita VC or Infinita fund. And. They are, we actually organized this podcast when I reached out to both of you independently and both of you said, wouldn't it be, an interesting podcast if we had each other, if you had each other on the podcast.
So I think this is officially our first panel podcast, but Jay, Nicholas, welcome to the pod. Thank
Niklas Anzinger: you. Great to be here. Great to be here. Thanks.
Curtis Duggan: So I'll start with Prospera. And again, I'm an Anglo, so I may be saying this not in, in not perfect Honduran Spanish, but Prospera or Prospera is a is it fair to say, Jay, that it is a network state or a startup city?
How do you pitch this project, if I can call it that when you're pitching to Seco?
J. Robertson: It's a great question. Prospera at its core is a platform for governance. And what we provide is a special governance framework and as a company, we partner with governments to create special economic zones and inside those zones, new cities can be built.
And so the core thing that we're providing is a better way of doing governance. And we partner with countries to leverage that to drive growth and development and create beautiful destinations for entrepreneurs and innovators. And we've partnered with Honduras to build our first flagship city, St.
John's Bay on the island
Curtis Duggan: of Roatan. Yeah, I was looking at the website in preparation for this call you promote multiple cities. I guess maybe St. John's Bay is the first one when you have this concept of St. John's Bay. And it looks like Satuye and Port Royal. What are those other cities as well?
How do they fit within? So what I gather is Prospera is a stack of technology, but it's also, Unlike some philosophical startup city projects that are going on right now the overall Prospera technology stack and project and the city of St. John's Bay, this is real stuff happening.
Atoms, not bits, buildings, land, people coming. It's a real physical place. So what are those three cities on your website? How does that relate? How do they relate to the overall project?
J. Robertson: Yeah, so you're right that what sets Prosper apart from a lot of projects is we've been working on this for a while.
And we had the idea and partnered with Honduras to start because they have one of the best legal frameworks in the world that allows for private partners to come in and set up a special jurisdiction. So Prosper was one of three companies that got approved under the law in Honduras, and we launched our 1st city St.
John's Bay on the Caribbean island of Roatan. It's a beautiful destination for remote workers, tech startups entrepreneurs. And the interesting thing about our platform is it allows us to scale and serve multiple cities under that same jurisdiction in Honduras. So like a city, a normal city can annex other properties and expand their borders.
The unique thing about the Honduran law, it allows us to do that by adding non contiguous properties. So the first flagship is St. John's Bay. It's the most developed. Satouye is an industrial hub on the mainland of Honduras with access to a port facility. It's an early development and is suited towards more heavy manufacturing or industrial uses.
And then Port Royal is in the very early planning stages, but it's actually on the eastern end of the island of Roatan. So it's a separate community there on the island.
Curtis Duggan: Got it. And I've got more, definitely more questions about about Prosper. But Nicholas, I want to bring you in. It's on your website, it says I think it says, proudly based in Prospera or based in Prospera under the, actually there's people should go check it out.
There's this futuristic looking or Neo futuristic looking hero banner picture. I'm really curious what makes what is the appeal of basing? In Prospera for any company, but specifically, for a VC fund. And then another thing I'm really curious about is what is the model of a VC fund that's focused on this space?
Obviously you are bullish on Prospera. But when I think about cities and civilizations and network states, it seems to me, these are the kinds of things that take 10, 20, 30 years. If we look at human history, how long does it. Take to get a city off the ground, it's not something you flip in 18 months or, pass the bag on to the IPO market or, find the next series B growth investor and kind of, wipe your hands and say, Hey, we did it.
We got it from series A to series C. These are really big ideas. And so I'm curious how you got into this particular vertical, if we can call it that the network state vertical, and then how does a VC firm even look, approach. A thesis for this emerging space.
Niklas Anzinger: Sure. That's a very wide range of questions and a deep rabbit hole to go down.
So I could give a very long answer. The short answer is why I'm based in Prospera is that I think it's by far the best and most advanced. Startup society in the century to date with the highest possible leverage or optionality for technology startups to innovate in areas that desperately need innovation, right?
That are currently held back by the flawed regulatory paradigm, even in developed countries like the United States. That's the short answer. The longer answer is that I answer with my story of how I got started there. So I also a serial entrepreneur. I come from the Berlin tech startup scene. I had to, I did two startups.
So I was an early employee and operator, and one of them was quite successful. So they raised a series B at the point I left and wanted to start my own startups. And the first one didn't work. And I was looking for what is the, what are the biggest possible problems or what's the biggest possible mission I can go on.
What's a problem that can keep me occupied for the rest of my life. And I looked into things like healthcare during COVID. And there's also things like real estate, like finance. I felt that was a bit too late because crypto was already having a good run, but also energy or climate. But when I look deeper into all these and especially healthcare, what I found was that the problems in these sectors.
Are not due to like mark, lack of market based solutions or options, right? It's very often that you can't build a better solutions because of the problem of regulatory and legal systems. So that's very apparent in countries where it's very hard to do business in the first place, like Honduras, where you have a very predatory financing environment and lack of private property rights enforcement and things like that, and in countries like the United States, it goes into things like housing regulation.
Which is destroying trillions of dollars in value and really driving housing prices up artificially by building supplying constraints. So that was the mind space of where it's coming from. And I was like, as an entrepreneur, how do you fix that? I can't really fix regulations, right? I can't make laws, right?
And I don't want to lobby left for 20 years. They have a tiny chance to get some proposal into law. And then I heard about Prosper really through Scott Alexander, who wrote this long article, Prospectus on Prospera. And I was just fascinated and intrigued, but also skeptical can this be real?
Or is this like some, some vague utopian or philosophical. a project, right? So I went to visit it in April, 2022. And even though it was already excited about the idea, visiting made it so viscerally real. This is already happening. This is like very practical. There's a really capable team. It has really good funding.
There's real estate. There's the better building. The coworking space is on a beautiful Caribbean paradise Island. It was like, wow, what's happening. And also at the same time, I saw a startups, for example, a startup called mini circle, which is doing gene therapy. They're working with the local clinic to do clinical trials or a drone technology company that, so they're building, they have a drone platform on top of the first residential tower where you can get things delivered by a drone.
So I was like, wow, this is happening. And now there's so many things that are possible. And there was a pitch competition at that first summit that I organized. And I was like, I can't possibly decide which of all these ideas I want to work on now. So I pitched a VC fund so I don't have to decide.
I can just help others realize their ideas. And Eric Brimman, the CEO of Prosper, I liked that idea. And he said, what do you need? We want to help you realize that. And then I started seriously looking into it and actually doing it. And I think I positioned Infinita at quite a good sweet spot, right?
Because I just decided to have normal Delaware fund entities. So the fund is incorporated in Delaware, right? So it basically has the risk profile of the entity of a normal us based VC fund. And I'm investing in companies that can use Prosper and places like Prosper that get some advantage of it.
Like it's a strategic optionality. So don't require people to come here. It's just a bonus from me. Or I get additional insight on them as a company, and I just see or notice what advantage they get through it. So this also allows me to capture a larger deal flow, right? So companies in like biotech and healthcare and drones and air mobility or in like legal and crypto, they're all in candidates for me, if they fit the profile of they could.
Prosper could give them a big advantage or some other jurisdictions that I work with. So this is like really diversified the risk of the fund in a way, right? So I was able to go to investors that have invested in like Prosper or in similar projects and considered a very high risk investment and say Hey, you could help that project, but with a much lower risk profile, with the risk profile of a normal VC fund.
And then I could go to founders and have a really interesting and relevant story. And then many of them I invited to the island and some of them are intrigued to getting set up and doing clinical trials or getting like testing sites. It's a jet pack company that came through me. So a long way in the way of saying that the thesis has really landed in the market.
So the fund is well over subscribed now and that's quite exciting. I met 14 investments by now, two of which are prosper based companies. Several others are considering though. So I expect in the final portfolio, maybe four to six out of them will be companies that have some operations in Prospera.
And at the same time, I also started diversifying, right? So I want to create a larger movement, right? So Prospera I think has a bigger chance of succeeding if there's more projects like it. Because this way you're not like this single target, right? Others are doing it. So this has legitimacy and credibility.
So I started working with some other projects, for example, with Zuzaloo, Vitalik Buterin's pop up city in Montenegro, where we also got into talks with the government Zanzibar.
Which has two projects that got like custom deals for special economic zones. And the government is interested in doing more of these zones. So I want to create a bigger movement that is helping the startup succeed in all these areas where we need that innovation and that disruption that is currently not happening because existing legacy systems don't allow it.
Curtis Duggan: Jay, how was I'm thinking about all these different. Industries that Nicholas is mentioning and where it might be favorable for them to be in Prospera or in the the first iteration of Prospera in, in St. John's or on Roatan. How did you choose or how was Honduras chosen as the first country for this model?
And what specifically about the island of Roatan was attractive for creating this special economic zone or ZERE? And. How did that come about?
J. Robertson: It's a good question because Honduras is not always at the top of people's lists when they're looking at new places to travel to. I'll start by answering that by just touching on our philosophy generally as Nicholas mentioned, we've seen a real growth in projects where people are trying to create network states, startup societies, special economic zones.
And for us, we look at governance as an industry. That's not something that's not the typical way that people think about governments. You think about government as a fixed thing that you're stuck with. And if you want to change the rules, you have to go through the traditional legislative process. It's expensive.
It's hard. And it's just really difficult to drive change at the institutional level. If you think about governance as an industry, it captures a huge percentage of GDP. It's highly concentrated and inefficient. There are around 200 providers for over 7 billion customers in the world. Most people are dissatisfied with the way their government works.
And so you're paying a lot of fees for services that don't always work. And our thesis is we can drive change by one offering a better alternative, doing governance better, providing it as a service that people can opt into where it's very clear what fees you're paying and what services you get in exchange for those fees.
So we can not only offer a better alternative, but as we know, competition in markets drive improvements across the entire sector. So the hope is that. Prospera and more projects like Prospera show a better way of doing governance that also drives change at these other legacy institutions. So when we started approaching the project through that lens, that there are successful examples of special economic zones that have driven prosperity and economic growth in other parts of the world.
Places like Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Dubai, Singapore are some of the big examples of these places that We're in the case of Shenzhen, a small fishing village that is now this gigantic thriving industrial hub and Prosperity can be driven at the city scale like that through just better institutions That was the secret sauce for all these places.
It was a special environment with better rules that provide good governance security stable rule of law property rights And access to justice. But you'll notice that most of those that I mentioned are not in the Western Hemisphere. They're in the Far East. And so PROSPERA started looking at somewhere in the Western Hemisphere.
And coincidentally, there were some leaders in Honduras that were seeking to create these kinds of zones because they realized that Honduras is a poor country, needs foreign direct investment, and needs jobs to keep Hondurans at home. Currently, Honduras sees massive migration to the United States for primarily people seeking economic opportunity.
The key distinction in Honduras and the reason we're there is because they created this law called the ZETE law that is really unique in that most of those other zones are directly administered by the central government. Honduras realized they didn't have the capital to set up. One of those themselves or the expertise to manage it in a way that would really welcome for an investment.
So they allow private companies to come in and set up and manage the zone privately and for profit. So it was really appealing. We started looking at Honduras and then within Honduras, there are lots of potential locations. Roatan has a huge number of advantages. As Nicholas mentioned, it's an island off the northern coast of Honduras.
It's about 30 square miles. It's roughly equivalent to the size of Hong Kong Island and has a population of around 100, 000 people. It's a former British colony, large bilingual population. U. S. dollars are widely accepted. And they see a huge number of tourists that visit the island every year for scuba diving and snorkeling.
It's very accessible from the U. S. There are direct flights daily to the island from airports like Houston and Miami. It's two or three hour flight direct to the island and then a 15 minute drive to St. John's Bay. And so there were just a huge number of advantages that made it clear to us that within Honduras, Roatan was the place to start.
Coincidentally we started in early 2020 when we put up our website and said we're open for business. That was in the middle of COVID when all of a sudden people, many more people were all of a sudden unshackled from their desks and had the options to choose where they could work.
And so we're presenting an option where you can not only choose where you work, you can choose a jurisdiction. That is really optimized for entrepreneurship and growth.
Curtis Duggan: Jay or Nicholas, I guess I'm just, I've got this even better picture now of the kind of almost like the paradise feel of an island where people go scuba diving.
But there's also this this new economic concept that's spurring a lot of economic growth. I'm wondering. Nicholas, you mentioned that, you've set up a Delaware Corp for the fund, but of course the the benefit for companies going to Prospera is that they will be able to do things like drones and gene therapy, where they might.
Encounter regulatory hurdles in the United States or in other parts of the world. Do you foresee that this genesis of the company in a friendly environment for experimenting with new technologies is something that companies will use to see the entire life of their company, or is it something where you might start your company?
In in Prospero or in Honduras. And then at a certain point, maybe series C series D it's we got off the ground faster because we were here, but now we need to go and start an office in Ireland or in the United States or in New York, somewhere and grow up and graduate to somewhere else.
Or is it something where the ecosystem is intending to support companies? For 10 years, 20 years, even growing unicorns and corporate headquarters once they mature, obviously with the eye towards, at a certain point, you might get the the counter argument that Oh, if I'm going to do enterprise sales, I want to be.
Based in Atlanta or, or I want to be based in London or something like that. How is the the future, how does the future look for companies that succeed at getting off the ground? Will they stay there for a long time or do they use it as an incubator for going somewhere else?
Niklas Anzinger: Yeah, so both are entirely legitimate use cases using it as an incubator or using it as a place for a headquarter I would say the advantage as a place for a headquarter would be if you're in something like healthcare for example, right? So I think medical tourism is a massive opportunity that we're tapping into with what we're doing and prosper for that I think it could have huge advantages to be very close to what we're doing here Once we're able to build like density of like clinics So we have a more clear regulatory structure for, safety clinical trials.
So I think there's tremendous opportunity to build like a density at that location. For other companies like crypto or hard hardware, for example, is a case where it's more of a launchpad, right? So the circular factory or a jetpack company that I invested in or the drone startups, they need to internationalize.
They need access to bigger markets. All right. But it could also scale through Prospera, right? So it could also be that Honduras is an interesting market. They have access through that. It could be that Prospera gets another location in another country where they could get access to a bigger market.
So these are all options that are easy to combine, right? And one way, how I would think about it, if you're an aspiring startup founder or entrepreneur is so multinational companies, think of a multinational company. So you have different, you have a headquarter, you have subsidiaries in different countries you just want to become a multinational companies potentially earlier.
And I think through technology, the stacked becoming a multinational company is reduced in costs. Because most of it is software, right? So how you file your documents and who you sent them to for regulatory compliance and things like that, that can be solved through AI and that combined with network states and startup cities, giving you additional options.
Just allows you to become a multinational company from much cheaper and much earlier in the process. So that means you can leverage different jurisdictions for what you're doing, right? So think of small modular nuclear reactors, for example. So for that, you want to do that, right? These small jurisdictions are super interesting for you to get to market really quick.
And then use that as something to show other or bigger jurisdictions. Hey, I have all this like track record and safety data, right? And here's how the regulatory templates look, just if you want it or not, should I like reduce the energy prices with a very high safety profile or not? So that's how that's the future that I want to create.
Curtis Duggan: Jay. I'm just wondering your role as VP of development, how much of that role, which I imagine, of course, is a very sales focused position. How much of that is finding the next jet pack company? To come and start at Prospera versus exporting the model and talking to the Zuzalos and the other governments of the world, and potentially, what's happening three, five years down the road in other parts of the world, how much are you focused inward versus exporting and, bring people in versus bringing the model out.
J. Robertson: Yeah. So the one thing that I think we found in our experience at building Prospera and partnering with Honduras to deploy it there is that actually getting a jurisdiction that is legitimate and operates under a sovereign government with legitimate authority is very hard, right? It takes a lot of work.
Honduras passed their initial the ZETI law in 2013, We worked for four years with the government to get the Prospera Zeta Charter approved in 2017. And then I mentioned in 2020 is when we actually completed the setup of the entire legal system. And so you're looking at, the better part of a decade spent actually getting through that process.
Now, hopefully it can be quicker in some other places, but that's a long process. But at the end of it you have something really valuable, which is. A place you can be in the real world operating as a sovereign government within the sovereign government of Honduras. And so we, what prosper provides primarily for those other groups or network states that are more dispersed.
That don't have that relationship with the government. We provide a real world base for those groups. And we partner with DALs with network states that are looking to host a meetup, to have a location, a physical hub. Within Prospera in Roatan. And then we have also just a much wider network of people that, that we call our city builders network.
And these are people who are from all over the world, but are interested in building something new. In governance or leveraging the governance platform that Prosper has to build their next big project. And so my role specifically is to support the growth of that network and ensure that those people can use Prosper to actually build their vision.
And when we think about sales it's very different than your traditional sales structure. Yes, at the end of the day. We're focused on bringing people to Roatan that can use Prospera and it's less of a of a customer base, I guess you'd say as more of a partner ecosystem. We have an ecosystem of businesses individuals who are part of the community.
That are building a company, whether that's providing medical services or gene therapy or jet packs is, as Nicholas mentioned, but then also a group of builders who are pursuing individual projects that contribute to the growth of the city. And so that's something really unique that we can also provide is a platform for people to build a venture that contributes to the growth of the city.
If you think about those other examples. Imagine if you were able to work with the government of Hong Kong as they were initially setting up and looking to really grow. You're getting it on the ground floor, building a new city. And as opposed to doing or managing all those projects, when it comes to infrastructure and needed city services, as opposed to managing all that ourselves, we've opened that up.
To the city builders network. And so we have people from around the world that are pursuing those things. We had we're working with the builder in Australia. Who's helping us build a 3D property, right? System folks from Europe that are setting up medical services. And that's our approach is less about, really selling and being transactional.
What we're building is a community and an ecosystem. Thank where people can contribute. And it's not just about putting forward an idea that then Prosper uses to develop. We're allowing people to pursue these as entrepreneurial ventures, where they not only participate and fill the need, but keep the upside for themselves.
And it's been really amazing to see that community continue to grow as more people come to Roatan and experience for themselves. But also people who might never come but want to participate in some way. The City Builders Network allows us to do that in a way where people can contribute from anywhere in the world.
Niklas Anzinger: If I may add something to that, Curtis? Yes, of course. So I see this emerging distinction I like to call it network society, not network state, because nobody wants to build a state. Except for Liberland, maybe, and that's a bit more controversial, but they're like a single case. So network societies, I see vertical network societies and horizontal network societies.
So a vertical network society is someone like Prospera, right? So they're building the governance, the legal stack, the jurisdictional aspect and in the built world, right? So Praxis would be another one or they're explicitly aiming to build a city or Tipolis, for example. And then I see the emergence of like horizontal network societies.
So Zuzelu is a bit more of a horizontal network society. And I'm starting a new horizontal network society called Battaglia, right? So Battaglia has one core moral innovation. We want to make death optional, right? So in the Balagian sense, having this moral innovation. And then we, it would be too much for us to build a city, right?
So we wouldn't be focused on accelerating life extension technologies, which is what we actually want to do. We want to bring like entrepreneurs and bioscientists, right? That have been able to, that are able to figure out how to make us live longer, like through interventions, such as gene therapy.
So we really want to optimize for that one or moral innovation or for that one layer, and just by the governance services of an existing vertical network society provider like Prospera, right? So the first Vitalia Chem, which will be similar to Zuzaloo. In fact, one of the core organizers of Zuzaloo, Laurence Ayan from VitaDAO and I are co founders in this.
Will take place in Prospera, right? And we're planning to, if we have the consent of the community to build like a longevity district in Prospera, where we can, do medical tourism, where we can do more clinical trials and things like that, where we can just accelerate our moral innovation further.
And then we might buy access or governance services from other providers. So we might go to somewhere like Uruguay, for example. Where the production costs are really low for biopharma, and then we might have another hub in, San Francisco or Austin. Where we want to recruit some of the best talent in the world, right?
So from the major universities or we what we want to do what we want to do fundraising because all the VCs are there So this way we would be an archipelago of three to five different jurisdictions But again, it's not focused on building the city like prosperous. We're focused on building like a horizontal industry
Curtis Duggan: And to be clear you mentioned a Balazsian organizing principle.
And in his philosophy, he gives the example of, maybe Bitcoin is the currency or low carb ketogenic eating is the, it's an anti sugar anti refined sugar. Is it fair to say, just to make sure that I picked up what you were saying correctly, that Vitalia's organizing principle is a...
Is a focus on pursuing longevity. Is that, that the exact Exactly,
Niklas Anzinger: but there's different kinds of longevity, right? So Vitalik Buterin once said there's kale longevity, steak longevity, and metformin longevity. So kale longevity is like really healthy eating of greeneries. The next steak longevity is like carnivore diet and like working out really hard or whatever.
And then metformin longevity is probably more our thing, right? So we really talk about radical life extension. So we want to use the best available science in the world, which has found interesting pathways to stop or to eventually rejuvenate cells and cell degeneration, right? So we have, we know, we are aware of the problems we need to solve, right?
So there can be solutions how we can prevent people from aging. And potentially live for hundreds or maybe thousands of years, right? So we're really in that camp where we want to work on really deep science and technology and build like medical treatments and medical drugs and bring them to market in effective ways or treat patients in an effective way so they live much longer than they do now.
Curtis Duggan: I'm just thinking about your example of, the horizontal example, so you can launch, some aspect of what you're doing in Honduras, you can pull some cost of goods sold or certain unit economics are favorable in Uruguay and then the talents in San Francisco. When you were in Zuzalu or when you were in Montenegro to participate in Zuzalu, do you get the sense that.
Dozens of these are going to pop up in the next. 10 years or, thinking a little bit about what Jay was saying, is it the kind of thing where it's really hard, it's really hard to find a host or partner, symbiotic partner government. And we can expect maybe five or 10 of these that are actually successful, but probably not 50 or a hundred.
I'm trying to just make it, I think
Niklas Anzinger: yeah, I think we have the ingredients to make this a successful movement or trend where we see more and more popping up. Like I've started collecting the different projects on the startup society's map that you find on my sub stack, right? The sub stack is called stranded technologies, like my podcast.
And it's just been growing and growing, right? So I think it's now at about like 50 projects or something like that. And I just released the latest version, like four weeks ago, and I found like 12 more projects since then. You get a sense that this is really fast growing. That said, it does hinge on success, right?
So this is also why I'm so bullish on Prospera. Prospera is to me the most important one to succeed. So we can point at a really successful example like this, how is this, how it could work to then inspire the others to say, Hey, this worked in Honduras, right? Despite at times, even unfavorable conditions.
And now we see how we can make it work. We can take, we can tell other governments, look Honduras, look at how much economic development and prosperity they got from it. And here's the legal templates and things, how we've done it. So we could do it in this and that way with you as well. So I think that's the test case is really important, right?
If we don't have that, or if they're that, that could set the space also back by a couple of years, right? I don't think it will get it set it fully back because it's very important and needed. And special economic zones are also nothing new, right? So as Jay has pointed out, there are numerous examples.
But I think there's a lot that hinges on the success of Prospera and, or if at least of some, and of some other projects as well to continue on that growth
Curtis Duggan: trajectory. Yeah, Jay, I'm sure since 2013, every step of the way, every milestone, this is a really difficult kind of entrepreneurship because you're just pioneering, pioneering an entirely new concept.
It seems like last year there was, I'm sure after a series of many hurdles, there seemed to be a big hurdle in the news, which is that the government or the new government started to, Entertain or pass legislation in 2022 and into 2023 that wasn't as friendly to I guess the, the prior deal that the Zeta had or Prospera had with the prior government when you started, what is the, can you characterize, what is the nature of the current situation with some of the stuff that's been in the news about.
Perhaps the president not being favorable to Zedes or to prosperous experiment. And what have you been working on that front in the last year or two?
J. Robertson: Yeah. So I mentioned earlier that the, this concept in Honduras is a Honduran idea that was pioneered by Honduran political leaders who saw it as a pathway to bringing investment and growth to the country.
And they also realized that not just Honduras, but Latin America broadly is, does not have a reputation for political stability and that it would be really important to set up the special economic zone structure in a way that has stability, that is durable even in the face of a potential change over administration or a potential instability down the road.
And the way that they did that is to allow the zones To create legal stability agreements and become party to international treaties. As a U. S. based company that is the organizer of this zone in Honduras, Prospera is party to CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, to which the United States and Honduras are party that protects the, Prosperous zone as an existing zone for a minimum period of 50 years, even if the wall is ends up being repealed down the road.
And so the government that put this into place previously was right of political center. They were replaced by a government that was left of political center that campaigned against everything the previous government did. Stop me if you've heard this story before. It plays out like this in multiple places.
And that included the concept of Zetas. And it became a bit of a political football during the campaign. There were lots of allegations that Zetas were used to steal property or become havens for international criminals. None of that was based in fact, and none of that's actually happened. And so when the new government was elected they continued using a lot of that rhetoric and took some action legislatively to repeal the enabling legislation.
What that means legally for the time being, it only means that no new zones can be created in Honduras. So as one of the existing zones, Prospera continues to enjoy those legal stability protections, and the Congress has not taken any further action to. Repeal the constitutional amendment that protects that they have until January of next year to take further action there.
It doesn't appear that's going to be the case. The current administration doesn't have a lot of political support currently, but. There is still some of that rhetoric out there, and the reality is that this is something that happens whenever new projects come. People feel threatened, it threatens special interests.
To use Roatan as an example, Roatan is a huge tourist destination with two cruise ship docks. So carnival cruises, rural Caribbean cruises stop there regularly. That wasn't the case a few decades ago. And when the cruise ship docks were first installed, there was a huge outcry locally about all this fear about how cruise ships were going to destroy the island and fast forward to now when it's the centerpiece of the local economy.
And you'd be hard pressed to find anybody that doesn't want to see the cruise ship stopping a row attempt. And so I think we're just in that initial phase where there was some uncertainty at first, but now more and more people are seeing the benefits, the jobs, and the growth that are brought by Prospera.
We have over a thousand residents at eResidence. The majority of those are Honduran. Over a thousand Hondurans have jobs within the jurisdiction, where over 1 percent of the local population that's now directly or indirectly impacted by the growth that Prosper has brought and so I think as time goes on, you'll only see that more locals are understanding the benefits and actually benefiting from the jurisdiction itself.
And so we're very bullish. We are continuing to see more and more interests, not only locally, but from international companies that are coming. And I think it's just a matter of time as time passes and people see that the jurisdiction does in fact have this legal stability is continuing to operate for the most part as normal and welcome new
Curtis Duggan: growth.
I'm wondering I want to take a slightly different I think we've got a good kind of overall picture. Of the the purpose of the project, but I want to make it personal and dive down to the street level almost so to speak. So I'm just trying to the way I'm thinking of doing is just imagining, let's say myself and a co founder or just myself.
We just raised a 500, 000 safe. From an investor for a, let's just say for a a web three technology project, web three, and at the intersection of web three and AI, we are totally sold on Prospera. And so we book a flight to to the airport, to RTB airport, Juan Manuel Galvez airport.
We land we're a hundred percent sold. And we're just so eager. So we just get on a plane and fly down. What's next? Like we get in the taxi. Are there kind of special accommodations? Are there condos? Is there like a main office to go and incorporate? Like literally we're just, we're flush with safe money.
We're ready to go. What is the next week or month look like if we're like, we're all in, we want to do it here. What
Niklas Anzinger: do we do next? If I may start and then Jay can finish. So I highly recommend that you choose as dates, some of the conferences that Infinita is organizing. The next one that's on web three and crypto is a November three to five.
So during that time, we do like a pitch competition. We'll see several parts of the jurisdiction. It will take place in the Bitcoin education center on the island. So during that time, you'd also get to learn much about the jurisdiction. You meet all the leadership. And you meet other hungry entrepreneurs and you'll get to start thinking and developing kind of your ideas and practical ways, how you can incorporate or use the jurisdiction for your purposes.
So these are highly recommended. The other one is November 17 to 19. If you're interested in healthcare and longevity as well. And then next year we do a whole two months focused on longevity, but longevity is also heavily influenced by crypto, right? So it, it's an ouch and a spinoff of as well. So there'll be a lot of crypto AI and other frontier technologies as well.
And you, we have a full camp there for two months. And I'll let Jay talk a bit more about the street level view. Yeah
Curtis Duggan: even, yeah, Jay, I'm even thinking at a very practical level, just the basics even the fact that let's say I'm a Canadian citizen, I am, or an American citizen or an EU citizen.
Is there a visa path or is there like a six month, nomad visa where it's like, Hey, don't worry just come here. You won't have to pay income tax. You're allowed to be here. It's not just the way that people go wink, wink, I'm going to go to a country for a year and I might just fly under the radar in Argentina what's like the right way to come for someone who's not a Honduran citizen at all, or has never been. Yeah,
J. Robertson: so I would say that, the great thing about Prospera is that we're not shackled by the traditional way of doing things. And so you can actually start that process before you even get on your flight to row a 10 you can sign up for e residency online.
Generally, within 24 to 48 hours, you'll receive a residency card that you can view online. You can add it to your apple wallet and that allows you to access the. Prosper is on for up to six months out of the year. And you can also incorporate your company online. All that's completely digital first.
And so the benefit of starting from scratch is that we're able to reimagine how governance services work, make it super simple and low friction. Once you arrive you there's visa free access for people from us, Canada, many other countries to Honduras. And, you. You land at the airport.
It's a 15 minute drive to our property. You show your residency card on your phone to get into the jurisdiction. And then we have an expansive property. Right now the footprint is a little over 400 acres for St. John's Bay there. It includes some commercial buildings, beautiful co working spaces that were purpose built by Prospera to integrate with the natural environment that have won architectural awards.
We also have a large resort property with standalone villas a hotel with beachfront access, a large beach club with pools. And so it's a very welcoming environment to live, work and play.
Curtis Duggan: And what is the length of time that someone who's got a successfully got an e residency can stay before they need to renew or renew, renew their visa in Honduras, or I guess in your economic zone?
J. Robertson: Yeah. So it's an important distinction that Prospera e residency is separate and distinct from Honduran residency. And Honduran residency, or generally you can come for three months visa access. You can actually obtain residency through investment and it's a relatively low barrier.
We have preferred providers that can help walk you through that process. Honduras is generally very welcoming towards entrepreneurs or people who are looking to visit the country. It's very straightforward. And being a prosper e resident gives you access. To not just the physical jurisdiction, but then all those governance services, the tax rates, the regulatory system as well.
Curtis Duggan: That's really helpful. Yeah. And I think ease frictionlessness and ease of getting things started is going to be really important for all of these projects. Nicholas, I was just even thinking about maybe the other end of the story. Now imagine, let's just say there's some entrepreneurs that came and got started and they really just hit it out of the park to the point where they're having a really quick win 18 months later.
A multinational or a U. S. A Delaware Corp wants to buy them. Have you seen, have you gone through any instances of an exit and having the lawyers and the accountants figure out how to merge a prosper and company into an acquiring U. S. Company? If not, do you understand what that might look like and whether that will be like.
Some, Silicon Valley, Palo Alto lawyers scratched in their head and said, we haven't seen one of these before, or how do you anticipate those kinds of things will go, of course, knock on wood, there will be many successes. What does that look like from an exit perspective?
Niklas Anzinger: Yeah. So what I'm saying is not legal advice.
Yeah. How it works in practice right now is that most startups that use Prosperity Jurisdiction. Also have Delaware Seacorps simply because that's the vehicle that most US VCs require and have agreed on, right? So you'd lose a lot of market access if you didn't have that option, right? So a prosper LLC endows you with more flexibility to certain things and it has certain advantages So I, for example, I have my Delaware fund owned by a holding company that's based in Prospera, right?
Which is totally possible because it's my personal wealth building vehicle, right? So nobody's investing in that entity. I just hold it. And then people are investing in like the Delaware entities and you could do the same thing as a startup, right? What I'm trialing out now with Vitalia is we have a Prospera LLC and we do saves that are made for the Prospera jurisdiction.
So we're specifically for this one, talking to investors who are already aligned and are willing to take on that risk, right? But as a backup option, we still have the Delaware C Corp, right? So if we have someone that really doesn't want to, then it goes into the Delaware C Corp and the shares are mirroring or reflecting what's happening in one entity as part of the other.
And then there's also a fallback legal option that we're putting together right now, that if something were to happen to the prosper entity, for some reason. Then it would just be swapped into a Delaware entity. So that interoperability already exists. That's how I think about it as a company.
J. Robertson: And one thing I'll add there is that, I've mentioned that the Prospera legal framework is innovative in the first of its kind in many ways. But we're also borrowing from best practices in other places. So the actual legal vehicle structure in PROSPERA for LLCs or corporations for the large part mirrors what you'd see in Delaware, which is emerged as the standard.
And so our goal is to make it as familiar as possible. It's a common law, a legal environment based primarily on a restatement of common law. And the goal is to make it familiar. So there's also interoperable for those sorts of transactions.
Niklas Anzinger: But at the same time, of course, there's advantages, right?
And disadvantages, they're very specific to what you're trying to do, right? So you mentioned like the mini circle gene therapy example, another thing that could be interesting, which is why the November three to five conference is called crypto futures and legal engineering. So there's a new field and we have three that's merging kind of computer science with law, right?
So crypto lawyers around the LexDAO legal guilds are organizing it together with us and they're recognizing or seeing that law is in many ways like code, right? So it's not that one can fully replace the other, but when you look at these inter jurisdictional things, and when you look at what.
Blockchain technology can do in terms of making contracts, like for example, tokenizing real world assets. These are legal contracts, right? And blockchain is a settlement layer for legal contracts. So in the prosper jurisdiction, this can give you a lot more flexibility. Again, not legal advice.
And there is, as things you have to be very careful with things that touch Americans or the United States when it comes to anything crypto or anything that's the SEC could fall under in terms of restrictions, but there are options. At least if you're not American. To have a Prosper entity as a wrapper around another entity.
And then the Prosper entity can be tokenized, for example. So there's all sorts of really interesting things and proposals that came up in the last couple of conferences. How you could use that Prosper LLC structure flexibility. Yeah, I feel
Curtis Duggan: like there's a whole other podcast episode that we don't necessarily have time for around really drilling down on the quote unquote nerdy stuff around, how do you create civil litigation framework?
How do you create banking? How do you create all of the kind of recreating society from scratch? And I know it's not from scratch. It's standing on the shoulders of giants and creating and recreating some of these frameworks. But we don't have time for all that, but I've got a long list of notes of.
Kind of really specific topics I want to drill down in and maybe someday you can come back on the pod as we get to the end of the hour though. I almost I want to put it out there. I'm trying to picture the future of network societies and vertical and horizontal network network societies.
Do you have a sense of where in the world, I'm not holding you to it. Don't share any secrets that you know about anything or anything under an NDA, but in general, where should we expect more of these to be created in the world? Are there Montenegro is where Zuzalu was created. Do we expect many of these?
On the Adriatic coast in the Balkans, like it's rumored that where Praxis might be identifying their city site, is it Central America? Will we see these in Western Europe? Where might the next five or 10, almost like if I could do a lightning round of like top three countries that are really good at this and entertaining these kinds of ideas.
I'm trying to picture where it's all going to pop up. And I'm just curious if you have any thoughts on, where should we expect more of this in the world?
Niklas Anzinger: Yeah, I would say generally South America and Africa, right? So in South America, besides Honduras, and hopefully the program will be continued, does that a program that you also have countries like Uruguay.
So Uruguay has various funds, special economic zones, and also Panama and Costa Rica have, for example, and I heard that Columbia is thinking about doing these zones. And then in Africa, this is where the most need is for urbanization, right? So I was involved with Zanzibar, there's already two projects and the government is very open to do more of those.
And there is private cities also in Kenya. And in Nigeria, there's two interesting or several interesting projects. One, for example, is led by Inoluwa Aboyeji the biggest tech entrepreneur in Africa is building his own network of charter cities starting in a free zone in Nigeria.
Curtis Duggan: Jay, any thoughts on where the future is?
We've got South America and Africa which makes a lot of sense.
J. Robertson: Yeah, I would echo Nicholas's comments for the most part. And obviously our primary focus right now is Honduras because it is the biggest opportunity and we're focused on building out that initial success case. I will mention because I'm an American and a lot of our community are Americans.
There's always an interest of people to say, can we do something here? And, there have been efforts around that in the past around regulatory sandboxes in certain places, interstate compacts, working with Indian reservations. There are some opportunities there, but I think it's just it's very much in its infancy until there's.
That really big success case that makes the value of a zone like that undeniable for a country like the United States. It doesn't necessarily need it. But yeah, I'd agree that right now. Latin America is where we're focused and obviously in Honduras to build out the initial success case.
Curtis Duggan: Jay and Nicholas, this really just feels like scratching the cir scratching the surface of a first ever conversation I'm having with you.
That just leads to 10 other subtopics for me to go and research. We'll definitely get a comprehensive list of links for the show notes, but just briefly for our listeners where can they go to find more information about Prospera or about your fund, Nicholas? If they're just searching on the internet, and then we'll make sure, even if you have more social handles, we'll add them all.
But where should they go first if they're looking for you?
Niklas Anzinger: Sure. InfinitaVC. com. So there you find a collection of tons of links and content, including my podcast and my blog. And on the blog, for example, you find the ultimate guide for entrepreneurs to prosper summarizing all my practical insights that touch on many of the questions that you asked here.
And also the podcast already has more than 70 episodes now. And has like very prominent thinkers like Robin Hanson or Alex Tabarrok. And additional on top of that, I'm very active on Twitter and on LinkedIn mostly.
J. Robertson: Yeah. And for Prospera, you can find us on X at Prospera Global. Our website is prospera.
co. And there are a couple of big links there on the top of the page. The first is join. You can click there to join our city builders network. That's the online gathering place for the community where you can see all the latest updates, projects, events that are happening. So you can plug into 1 of these events that Nicholas is hosting.
And then there's also a tab there for visit. So you can see what the city looks like. You can see pictures, tips for visiting sign up there. We can give you a tour when you come down and. Give you the concierge experience to visit the city for yourself. Jay
Curtis Duggan: Nicholas, thanks for coming on the pod. Really appreciate it.