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Tech City: Safe eating app stands out at City University event

PUBLISHED: 18:00 11 June 2016

Matt at a promotional event for the app

Matt at a promotional event for the app

Archant

You never know where the next innovative start-up idea is going to spring up from.

Matt chats discusses his idea at the recent 'Made @ City' event Matt chats discusses his idea at the recent 'Made @ City' event

New ideas and technologies are emerging all the time, and City University was showcasing some of the best on Thursday at its “Made @ City” event.

The event saw a host of students invited to showcase what they had been working on for the last year.

Ideas ranged from a purse that transformed into a bag to a website that commissions backpackers to transport international products from one country to another.

But the best from a tech standpoint was the Eat Safe app.

The brainchild of MA student Matt Bland, the Eat Safe app is an idea intended to make life easier for people with specific dietary requirements, such as allergies or intolerances.

The app allows you to save your dietary preferences and then search for restaurants nearby that meet your needs, with a specially filtered menu from each restaurant displayed to help you make a decision.

“Both my sisters have wheat allergies, and they’ve always found it hard to find places to eat, and recently my girlfriend developed an allergy to soy,” says Matt.

“We’re both big foodies, and so this presented quite a problem, as nobody wants to spend ages looking over a menu to find out what they can and can’t eat.

“During our market research it also emerged that a lot of people with allergies, when they were out with friends and someone suggested eating out, would go home because of the hassle involved in finding something they could eat.”

It was from this dilemma, Matt tells Tech City, that the Eat Safe app was born. Working alongside restaurants, Matt says his app benefits both the customer and the establishment, helping them meet EU requirements while providing a comprehensive, failsafe list of foods that has been vetted by the restaurant itself.

“There were similar things out there already, but they were all customer databases. So you could search for a vegan restaurant and it would suggest you Nando’s,” he says.

“By working with the restaurants we can ensure that the information provided is accurate, which of course is really important with allergies.”

Matt has been studying for his Masters at the Cass School of Business for the past year, right in the heart of Tech City.

And he says this environment has been invaluable in helping him develop his idea.

“I’ve got quite a few meetings lined up over the next few weeks with developers, and they never would have happened if it weren’t for the connections I’ve made in Tech City,” Matt says.

“It’s a lunching pad for so many events, and it’s such a useful area to be in.

“There’s a really strong sense of community and collaboration in Tech City, and so when someone like me has an idea like this it’s a lot easier to be able to develop it.”

While not quite off the ground yet, Matt hopes to have his app London-wide by this time next year, before hopefully launching it across the rest of the UK.

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