Founder Spotlight: Stu Murless
Stu Murless, co-founder of Feastfox, is building a mobile app that gives restaurant-goers recommendations tailored precisely to their preferences. Feastfox first launched in Cape Town, South Africa in 2017 to help locals discover personal restaurant recommendations. Since then, Feastfox has expanded to the US and put down roots in Seattle. We had a chance to catch with Stu to hear about what he’s been up to.
Stu, thank you for taking the time to share your story with us.
Where are you from?
I’m from Cape Town, South Africa. Cape Town is an incredibly beautiful city. You have mountains, wine farms and beaches all within the city. It also has some of the best restaurants in the world and is relatively cheap compared to the US or Europe.
What’s your background?
I took a bit of a strange route to a tech startup, working in accounting/consulting and investment banking.
Interesting. Why did you decide to ditch the world of finance to start your own company?
I had always wanted to do my own thing so it was something which had been percolating in the back of my mind. A vacation spent with Daniel, one of my co-founders discussing his ideas for Feastfox was the catalyst that I needed to leave corporate finance.
Tell us more about Feastfox.
Feastfox is the fastest restaurant discovery and decision-making engine ever made. We redesigned the process from scratch. It’s simple, personalized and incredibly fast. You’ll find your perfect restaurant for any occasion in less than 3 minutes. Our AI-powered engine analyzes millions of data points to make sure you get what you want – every time.
The Feastfox app would have come in handy on my last vacation! What are you excited to be working on right now?
Saving busy people in Seattle hundreds of hours spent searching Google, scrolling through Yelp or looking at endless “best of” lists to find a great restaurant.
Feastfox started in Cape Town and has since expanded to the US. What has been the most challenging aspect of setting up an office in the US?
The most challenging part was trying to do things remotely when I wasn’t in the US. I spent more time in the US than in South Africa during 2019, I also spent about 200 hours on airplanes and a lot of time on video calls. It’s great to be settled in Seattle and fully focused on the business.
You applied for the O-1 visa. What was the application process like for you?
The majority of our investors and advisors are US-based and our market focus is the US so it was critical for me to be in the US as well. The visa process was pretty smooth and didn’t require a lot of my time. I was able to focus on building Feastfox instead. Applying for a work visa can be stressful but Legalpad simplified what can be a complex process. Legalpad does a lot of visa work for startups so they understand the unique challenges international founders experience really well.
Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs who are thinking about going through the work visa process?
Highly recommend working with a team that gets your business and will be transparent with you throughout the process. It is important to discuss all the possible visa options with your lawyer as your circumstances are unique and what worked for someone else won’t necessarily work for you. If you are going for an O-1 visa, look at the criteria and see where you can get the best evidence with the least effort. As an example, if you have contacts in the press, then start with the authorship of scholarly articles. Or if you know someone who manages a startup competition, try to get judging experience.
Check out the Feastfox website to see what they’re up to!