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Thiel Fellow Launches A Topical Energy Spray For Absorbing Caffeine Through Your Skin

Founders Who Can’t Handle A Full Cup Of Coffee Want Everyone To Start Spraying On Caffeine Instead

ALYSON SHONTELL AUG. 20, 2013, 6:12 PM 1,479 2

In case you don’t like drinking, eating or inhaling caffeine, two founders going through investor Peter Thiel’s fellow program are creating another way to energize you. Ben Yu and Devon Soni have launched a campaign on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo for a product called Sprayable Energy. It’s an unscented, colorless formula that can be sprayed on skin, kind of like sunless tanner. It contains water, a derivative of the amino acid tyrosine, and caffeine. Four sprays equal one cup of coffee, the founders say, and each little bottle has up to 160 squirts.  The founders say they’ve “struggled with caffeine sensitivity” and the product they’re perfecting will give energy without the jitters. They also say Sprayable Energy users won’t experience a caffeine crash later in the day. Yu and Soni are seeking a modest amount, $15,000, to bring their idea to life. They’ve already raised more than $11,000 to tackle what they say is a $45 billion market. It’s worth noting that the a number of innovative ways to shoot caffeine into your system have been blocked. Perky Jerky was forced to stop putting caffeine in beef jerky, and the FDA went after inhalable solutions too.

Thiel Fellow Launches A Topical Energy Spray For Absorbing Caffeine Through Your Skin

KIM-MAI CUTLER

posted 14 hours ago

Between Rockstars and Red Bulls, Thiel fellowBen Yu and Deven Soni believe there is a $45 billion market up for grabs.

They’re looking to attack it with not another consumable drink, but rather a sprayable form of caffeine that you absorb through your skin.

Called Sprayable Energy, it’s an unscented mix of caffeine, water and a derivative of tyrosine, which is one of 22 naturally occurring amino acids that cells in the body use to synthesize proteins. They’re raising at least $15,000 on Indiegogo so they can order an initial batch of bottles to retail for $15 each.

Each bottle has about 160 sprays and each spray is the equivalent of about one-fourth a cup of coffee. So you’re looking at about 40 coffee-sized doses of caffeine for about $15.

Yu, who is one of Peter Thiel’s “20 Under 20″ fellows, says he started working on the product because he’s actually too sensitive to caffeine.

“I’ve always been really frustrated with existing energy drinks,” he said. “I’d drink them, get all this caffeine into my body and then get this jittery feeling. When I drink them, I can’t concentrate and then I crash.”

He started studying the structure of caffeine, and noticed some similarities with nicotine, which is already used in skin patches to fight cigarette habits. He did some tests on himself and started working with his dad, Chongxi Yu, a Ph.D. in chemistry who already has several drug-delivery patents to his name. Normally, caffeine isn’t that soluble but the addition of water and tyrosine makes it more readily absorbable by the body.

Around the same time, Yu started working with Soni, who used to be at Highland Capital Partners before starting a European seed-stage fund. They clicked on a trip to Antarctica and then started collaborating during the Startup Chile program.

“We both worked on comparison shopping and even used the same dental floss,” said Soni, who is about 10 years older than Yu and has done work in investment banking as well.

They’re looking to market the product to people who are really sensitive to caffeine or quantified self junkies who want to meticulously calibrate their daily caffeine intake.

They say the spray usually takes about 15 to 30 minutes to take effect. While there haven’t been any long-term studies on how in-taking caffeine through the skin compares to ingesting it, the company does follow FDA guidelines and produces its sprays in regulated facilities. They also pointed to some studies that suggest that caffeine might actually guard against skin cancer.

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About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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