Success Story

Allergy app achieves overseas success


Photo courtesy of Seneca College.

A young entrepreneur from Seneca College recently excelled at a prestigious Startup Weekend-style event in Europe with his social app for food allergy sufferers.

Travis Clements-Khan, one of Seneca’s “HELIXers,” won the EuroPITCH2015 competition held in June. First prize was an all-expense paid trip to Nice, France to participate in the European Innovation Academy (EIA). The EIA is basically a 15-day Startup Weekend on steroids. There are 500+ students from 65 different countries that participate.  Students come from institutions such as London Business School, Stanford University, Oxford University, UC Berkeley and Cambridge University. Seneca was the only college in Canada participating in this academy. 

Travis Clements-Khan pitched an idea complementary to his handheld allergy detection tool that he is working on in HELIX. The idea he pitched was a social platform for food allergy sufferers to connect. It would allow them to scan barcodes off food items and alert the user to allergens, as well as allow users to review and find restaurants that offer allergen-free dishes. allerZEN is the name of the app his team developed.   

His idea was selected as one of 80 companies to be developed during the academy.  Travis, as CEO, formed his team which included Karan Dhillon (Berkeley, California), Veronica Tramonte (Turin, Italy), Hannan Hashmi (London, England) and Yurika Doi (Tokyo, Japan). They developed the company/app over the 15 days of the European Innovation Academy.  At the end of the Academy they competed against the other 80 companies and placed in the top 15. 

Travis joined Seneca’s HELIX program in the fall 2014, and pitched his idea at a StartUp Weekend co-hosted by Seneca, ventureLAB, StartUp Weekend and Startup York Region.  His team won the competition and became connected to ventureLAB’s mentorship services. Seneca and ventureLAB continue to work together to support Travis, including most recently awarding him ventureLAB’s BOOST / RASF funding. 

HELIX is supported by Ontario’s On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) program, managed by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE). Travis has benefited from programming and mentorship provided at both HELIX and ventureLAB, as well as many other supports/opportunities established by OCE and others.  

This story was provided by Seneca College.