Brooks Powell isn’t your average college student. He wants to change the world by curing hangovers.
A junior at Princeton, Powell was astounded by the harmful effects alcohol can have on people. “When I got to college, it felt like everyone was drinking,” he said. With hundreds of billions in economic activity, “Alcohol is the most used and abused drug in the world.”
As Powell took a neuroscience class at Princeton, he read a research paper about an ingredient that helped rats recover from symptoms of intoxication. Dihydromyricetin (DHM) was originally used as a Chinese herbal remedy for hangovers, and no other hangover cures were currently using it in their formulas. Powell was instantly intrigued, and he asked his professor to help verify what he had read.
He wanted to improve social drinking by minimizing the harmful effects alcohol can have on relationships, but he saw a business opportunity as well. “I was also thinking from an entrepreneurial standpoint – man, someone could make a lot of money if they invented a hangover cure.”
After receiving the green light from his professor, friends, and family, Powell set about beginning his business – Thrive+ Hangover Cure. He applied for a chemical patent, produced samples, and began giving them to friends to test how they worked.
The biggest barrier to overcome, said Powell, is skepticism. People think it’s “too good to be true,” he said. But as the first reviews came back, the results were astounding. People told him that the pills really worked. After receiving many good comments, Powell began selling Thrive+ from his website and on Amazon. In the first few weeks, he has already sold over $1,000 of product.
The important factor will be watching to see if people reorder. Thrive+ comes in a pack of 30 pills (with 3 pills per dose), so after a month or two, he hopes to see his customers coming back to replenish their stock. That would indicate that they believe Thrive+ works, and then the product could really take off.
“One of the things that has been the most difficult has been figuring how to balance running and growing a business while in school,” said Powell, “but I would recommend it to anyone.”
He urges other students to take risks and start their own businesses if they have a good idea. “One of the best times to start a business is in college – it’s a safe place to fail.”
Along the way, Powell has learned a lot about what it takes to create a business. He also has come to realize the importance of entrepreneurship, despite the viewpoints of many around him that say business is “greedy” or “evil”.
“Making money is about creating value,” he said. “Everything in our world is a result of someone being an entrepreneur.”
First published on Opportunity Lives.