Stu Murless, co-founder of boam, is building a mobile app that gives restaurant-goers recommendations tailored precisely to their preferences. boam first launched in Cape Town, South Africa in 2017 to help locals discover personal restaurant recommendations. Since then, boam 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 that had been percolating in the back of my mind. A vacation spent with Daniel, one of my co-founders discussing his ideas for a new startup was the catalyst that I needed to leave corporate finance.
Tell us more about boam.
boam smart way to find your next meal. We’re building a restaurant discovery site that is simple, personalized and understands that .
boam would have come in handy on my last vacation! What are you excited to be working on right now?
Saving busy people hours spent searching Google, scrolling through Yelp or tapping around a map to find a great restaurant.
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 a company 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 boam website to see what they’re up to!