In an aisle where dehydration is often linked to diarrhea and infant related issues, co-founders John Sherwin and Jai Kim stirred up a new concoction, Hydrant that caters to adults in the health and wellness category. Or as we like to say, the cool aisle you would love to be caught in at WholeFoods!
America runs on Dunkin, or caffeine as most folks would refer to it as. In a sleep deprived world, 75% of Americans are dehydrated on a daily basis and resort to caffeine instead of water when they experience a headache, tiredness or need a mood boost. However, this is not the best solution for your body. We met up with our homeboys, John Sherwin and Jai Kim to discuss their journey leading up to the launch of Hydrant, an electrolyte powder for everyday use when water alone is not enough.
“We want to bring an approachable, cool brand to this space and empower consumers with knowledge about hydration and health. Hydrant is a lifestyle brand - one that people turn to at the gym, in the office, and after the bars.”
If you take a look at the hydration solutions currently available, they all seem to be missing a core component: product-market fit. For example, let’s look at Gatorade, an electrolyte drink marketed to athletes and sports enthusiasts, but consumed by mainly hungover white-collared men riding the subway and occasionally burping the alphabets. Or Pedialyte, a formula created for infants who experience a loss of nutrients due to diarrhea, is consumed by those still learning their ABC’s. John tells us how “there was nothing in the aisle that adults could use as a go-to solution for increasing their health and wellness when it came to dehydration. Not to mention, most of these products contain more sugar than is necessary! From an ingredient standpoint, Hydrant has 2x sodium, 8x the potassium as well as an infusion of magnesium and zinc.”
With production taking place in California, the biggest challenge for Hydrant has been bandwidth and speed. Jai tells us how “we have all of these plans that we share with investors, but the main challenge is to figure out the perfect product-market fit. You should never approach the whole market because then you are boring. Identifying who are your early adopters and focusing on a niche is key.” Jai also comments on how “the most painful dehydration used case occurs most frequently via the infamous hangover. So in a way that is where you want to be, but at the same time, the hangover space ends up being a tacky one linked to consumers feeling guilty. We want to be much more than just a hangover remedy.”
Jai and John met through a mutual friend and “dated” for six months before establishing their roles as co-founders and officially launching in August 2018 (seeds of the company were planted back in January 2017). While John grew up in the UK, Jai grew up in Boston and as fate would have it, both boys would become interested in the same topic at the exact moment. Jai tells us how “I was exploring a similar space when I came across Hydrant and decided to drop out of Wharton’s MBA program and invest my remaining tuition into the company and join full time.” Talk about commitment, folks!
So who does what? Jai heads up business development and sales and given his past experience working in private equity, was able to use his connections to raise $2 million for Hydrant, wohoo! Fun fact: he is also a partial owner in a liquid nitrogen ice-cream franchise in Korea. John, on the other hand, is your product guru, with a background in Biology and has worked for nanotechnology companies in the Valley, Silicon Valley that is. Fun fact: his front two teeth are fake, but his charisma is real!
There is no right way to go about setting up a company. Everyone has their own path, but John and Jai share their wisdom with us on the following:
Make sure you and your co-founder have complementary skill sets, a shared sense of humor and vibe. If you can’t become friends, you will be miserable.
Don’t work with large consulting firms, find the freelancer!
Make it easy for people to find you and contact you.
Start your SEO early by creating a blog and publishing content before your production run.
Be the first result on a google search!
Interested in trying out Hydrant and saying goodbye to your headaches, lack of energy, and mood swings? Mention promo code: RADICHE for a 20% discount here. Luckily, we tried out the product before writing this feature and have to say that it is a savior and actually cures those nasty hangovers if you are planning on drinking heavily. How to use: drink one pack of Hydrant right before falling asleep after a fun night out when you [typically] would have woken up with regrets, except this time you won’t regret your Hydrant purchase! For those who want to control the quality of their next day, click here.
Photo courtesy of Hydrant.