Where else but Silicon Valley could a 21-year-old Harvard dropout get paid by a billionaire to develop spray-on caffeine that, which, with two little spritzes to the neck, gives you a dose of energy?
On Tuesday, Ben Yu, a former Thiel Fellow, announced the IndieGogo launch of Sprayable, the spray-on energy solution. Yu left Harvard after one semester to become a Thiel fellow in San Francisco, where he received $100,000 grant to work on entrepreneurial projects of his choosing for two years. Yu decided to pursue an idea he had back in October 2012 when he was working toward a degree in biochemistry.
"Coffee didn't work for me," Yu tells me. "When I ingest it, it's like roller coaster ride of energy."
So he started researching how nicotine patches worked, and thought caffeine might work similarly. Like any good inventor, he created an experiment and found a test dummy--himself.
"And it worked," he claims.
According to Yu, caffeine can be absorbed into human skin quite easily. And because it's not ingested at once, it can "enter your system at a steady pace over several hours--giving you smooth, long-lasting energy." Yu and his co-founder, Deven Soni, enlisted the help of Yu's father, who holds a PhD in chemistry, to further develop the product and get it ready for commercialization. They currently hold a provisional patent for Sprayable.
Yu and Soni have taken their idea to Indiegogo, where they hope to raise $15,000 to develop the product line. They plan to sell each bottle of Sprayable, which would contain 40 "doses," for $15.
In case you're wondering, safety, Yu says, won't be a concern for a couple of reasons. First, you can wipe it off easily. Second, there's a saturation effect, so even if you were to spray yourself a thousand times, Yu assures me, you wouldn't overdose.