Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

April 1, 2022 Startups, Innovation & Technology

Yale grads’ product aims to prevent post-alcohol misery

PHOTO | CONTRIBUTED Tomo comes in a powder and can be dissolved in liquid. The company claims it helps prevent dreaded hangovers after overimbibing.

Call it a cure for what ails you.

That’s what two Yale University graduates call Tomo, a dietary supplement they developed in 2017 to stop the dreaded hangover. And now the product’s co-founders are mixing things up as they prepare to launch their new and improved product to go beyond the college crowd.

Margaret Morse, who studied molecular, cellular and developmental biology at Yale, along with Liam McClintock, a Yale athlete with a passion for nutritional supplements, teamed up five years ago to bring Tomo to life. The idea behind the powdery concoction is to mix it with water and drink it just before or after consuming alcohol.

The duo has since joined forces with a Brown University grad and health entrepreneur, Sam Yang, who became CEO, along with a professor and scientist from the Netherlands, Joris Verster.

The company’s original formula, under the previous name SunUp, sold out. The product has since been tweaked to taste better and be more effective, its co-founders said, and is set for an official relaunch in May.

Tomo will be available in packs of 10 for about $35.

Tomo’s journey began in 2017 when Morse and McClintock were seniors at Yale. For many college students, a social life and drinking often go hand in hand. One constant that Morse and McClintock noticed was that many of their fellow students were rendered pretty unproductive the morning after a night out of tying one on.

That’s when they had a lightbulb moment. They began mixing up nutritional supplements in their dorm rooms, and took their passion for health and science to their Yale professors and advisors with knowledge in fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements.

After spending eight months in a Yale lab, they created what they felt was a sure-fire way to head off a hangover.

The “post-alcohol recovery” product was initially called SunUp, but Morse said they ran into issues with other products with similar names. They changed the name to Mentis, but ultimately landed on Tomo, which means “I take” in Spanish.

Morse said the name sounds like tomorrow, as in you’ll feel better tomorrow after taking Tomo before “drinking responsibly.”

Tomo is geared to fight the toxins alcohol creates in the body, without actually killing your buzz.

Tomo Labs co-founder Margaret Morse and CEO Sam Yang

The duo enlisted the aid of web-based crowdfunding service Indiegogo, which helps entrepreneurs launch their businesses or products. The first week of pre-order sales netted more than $45,000, which Morse said enabled the product to be manufactured at a Food and Drug Administration-certified pharmaceutical company in Los Angeles.

The product caused a big buzz, and was featured in numerous publications, including Time, Men’s Health and Cosmopolitan.

Since the initial launch, Morse said Yang and Verster have come onboard, and with lots of feedback from a loyal customer base they tweaked the product with the goal of broadening its appeal. The newly improved Tomo will launch to a wider market, including on Amazon.

The target isn’t just college students but the public in general.

According to a 2015 report from the Centers for Disease Control, hangovers cost the U.S. economy $250 billion annually, mainly caused by reduced workplace productivity.

“Since our early success, we have expanded our footprint across the globe,” Morse, 27, said.

While Tomo Labs is an online storefront, the product continues to be made at a pharmaceutical company in Los Angeles. Yang declined to disclose the name. He’s hoping to branch out into actual physical retail stores, like Whole Foods and 7-Eleven, in the future.

New flavor

Yang, 29, said he “fell in love” with the product while pursuing an MBA at Stanford University. According to Yang, he still wanted to enjoy a social life while taking classes.

“From my personal experience, I noticed that there were always so many people around me complaining about hangovers,” Yang said. “When I first learned about this product and after testing it myself, I was very impressed with the results, it really worked.”

One of Yang’s first goals when he came onboard as CEO in 2020 was to tweak Tomo’s taste.

Tomo is a citrus-flavored powder that is dissolved in water and can be consumed up to an hour before or after drinking alcohol. Morse and Yang said it helps reduce common hangover symptoms like nausea, headache and fatigue and is packed with nutrients and vitamins aimed to reduce inflammation and the root causes of a hangover.

Ingredients include green tea, prickly pear, broccoli sprout extract, zinc and vitamin C. Dietary supplements don’t require FDA approval, though Morse and Yang said Tomo’s ingredients are rooted in science.

Morse said the product was tested on a panel of more than 100 volunteers, after some 30 tweaks to the formula and flavor before its initial launch. With many anti-hangover products on the market, Morse said Tomo is ahead of the pack.

“Our product is a powder format unlike most of our competitors, plus our unique branding positions us as a fun and science-based product, which was a whitespace that we identified in the market,” Morse said. “We are excited to introduce Tomo with improved taste, branding and efficacy.”

Morse said sales have grown since the initial, limited market launch. While she would not disclose annual figures, Morse said profits have allowed Tomo Labs to expand its virtual footprint.

“We have a large base of loyal customers and continue to acquire new customers,” Morse said.

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF