Start-up developing hangover cures raises $8 million
82Labs, a US-based start-up that manufactures drinks to reduce morning-after hangovers, has raised $8 million in fresh funding from investors like Altos Ventures, Slow Ventures, Strong Ventures, and Thunder Road Capital. Founded by Korean-American entrepreneur Sisun Lee, 82Labs' Morning Recovery drink has been brought to America from South Korea, where hangover drinks are quite common.
"My friends would go to work the next day and would swear by these hangover drinks with a herbal base. In many ways that was when I was first inspired," Lee said, explaining how the idea hit him when he was in South Korea.
The drink is based on a popular South Korean herbal medicine called DHM, a component which is extracted from the fruit of an oriental raisin tree. 82Labs bottles DHM with vitamins, electrolytes, and milk thistle, all of which are known to have detoxifying effects on the body. The result is Morning Recovery, a 3.4-ounce bottle which has to be taken before going to bed.
Morning Recovery costs $30 for a six-pack. 82 Labs, which launched in August last year, has been earning $500,000 every month. According to Lee, there is a $113 billion market opportunity for hangover remedies, given the $1.2 trillion global alcohol industry. Initially, the company, that dedicates its name to South Korea's country code, had also risen over $250,000 through an Indiegogo campaign.
Leveraging the product's demand, 82Labs has now launched the Morning Recovery Version 2. It is a repackaged, upgraded formula with improved solubility and bioavailability. This means the compound won't separate in the bottle and its efficiency as an active ingredient in the body has increased.
According to Lee, hangovers are caused when the liver is unable to break down acetaldehyde to digest alcohol, and Morning Recovery helps break down those acids more quickly. "We think this is a field that is very misunderstood and understudied, and we want to close this and help people move from thinking that you just have to drink lots of water," Lee said.