GENESIS: THE PROBLEM
HangOn started as the idea of two (overworked) professionals living in New York City.
From our time in the corporate world, we are well aware of the need to wake up each morning and perform at a high level throughout the day (even if the night before involved a few too many drinks). Happy hours, holiday parties and corporate events sprinkled between birthdays and spontaneous meet-ups with friends for drinks led to some rough mornings. Entering our late 20's and early 30's, we realized our bodies were no longer what they were in college.
It was getting harder to enjoy nights out without having to suffer a drop in productivity (accompanied by fatigue, headaches, stomach issues and a general aversion to any activity). We had tried literally every conventional hangover remedy, including: chugging liters of Gatorade or Pedialyte, taking a few ibuprofen capsules, coffee, cold showers, bowls of ramen or pho, greasy diner food, or even trying to go to the gym to "sweat it out", with limited success.
GENESIS: THE JOURNEY
Enough was enough. In summer of 2018, we committed to finding a better solution. We read everything we could find on the topic, including countless academic research papers on the topic. We then cold contacted, met and spoke with 30+ PhD's, academics and researchers who specialized in supplements, hangovers and alcohol to gain a better understanding. After digging into the mechanics and causes of hangovers, we realized that much of the science points to the liver's ability to metabolize and remove the toxic by-product of alcohol, acetaldehyde, from the body.
Then the light bulb went off. We remembered the hangover remedy drinks popular in South Korea such as Condition (컨디션), 808 Dawn (여명 808) and Morning Care (모닝케어), which in our experience were effective.
After reviewing the contents, we learned one of the primary ingredients in the hangover drinks turned out to be dihydromyricetin (DHM), an extract from the oriental raisin tree, Hovenia dulcis, commonly found in East Asia. DHM has been consumed via tea and other traditional methods for centuries in China, South Korea and Japan and it turned out the South Korean hangover drinks had been using DHM for the past couple decades with resounding success. The more we looked into DHM, the more excited we got that we could combine DHM with what we had learned to bring a solution to the US market.
GENESIS: THE TEAM
Based on this light bulb moment and the relative success of a landing page we threw up online, we called up our next team member (a doctor with a MBA from Duke University), and together, through our own research and conversations with academic researchers, medical doctors, chemists, pharmacologists and nutraceutical specialists, created the FDA-compliant alpha-version chewable HangOn tablet. We personally tested the alpha-version tablets (which meant lots of drinking for science!) and even mailed out free samples to subscribers on our landing page. We then reached out to our final team member, a chemical engineering major from Northwestern University, who joined at end of the summer and currently serves as our President.
GENESIS: THE WHY?
Despite the efficiency of the South Korean hangover drinks, we found that it was annoying to have to stop by a convenience store to buy one (or more if you were with friends) and then carry a bottle around with you or chug it quickly.
That memory was the genesis of the HangOn idea, and why we decided to figure out a way to package DHM and other antioxidants and amino acids into an easy to carry, sleek product that is discrete as a pack of gum. We strived to create a product that not only works effectively but is also convenient, social and portable. HangOn was the result of months of work, and we have created a great tasting chewable tablet that is discrete enough for professional settings.
Given that the genesis of our idea as well as one of the main active ingredients in HangOn, came from South Korea, we decided to pay homage to our origin story in our name. Han (한) stands for the first syllable in Korean for the Korean written language. Gon (간) is the Korean word for "liver". Together, they create HangOn.