Within two days of launching a campaign on the crowdfunding website Indigogo on Sept. 10, Neurogum’s co-founders Kent Yoshimura and Ryan Chen exceeded their goal to raise the $10,000 necessary to finalize manufacturing of the gum and its recently updated packaging.
“We’re so blown away that so many people contributed,” Yoshimura said of the 272 backers who had supported the project by Sept. 15.
He added that the support helped push the brand to the No. 1 slot in Indigogo’s health category, and he is optimistic that once the gum launches it will have a similar trajectory in the energy and cognitive food and beverage markets.
A gum that does more than freshen breath
He explained that the gum stands out from other energy products, including gums and drinks, because it has a unique combination of energizing caffeine and L-theanine, “which mitigates the side effects of caffeine” so chewers have steady energy without suffering jitters or a crash, Yoshimura said.
He also added the formulation, which was created with the help of a chemist and is based on hundreds of published scientific studies, includes B6 and B12, which research shows can enhance memory and help regulate the nervous system.
Not only does the gum boost cognition, but it is good for consumers’ teeth because it is sweetened with sorbitol, which can help prevent tooth decay, Yoshimura claims. He added that by opting for sorbitol the gum bypasses the growing public health concern surrounding sugar, which is linked to obesity and diabetes in excessive amounts, and aspartame, which is associated with cancer development in rats.
But Yoshimura does not want consumers to just take his word about the benefits of the ingredient included and excluded in NeuroGum. The company includes links to dozens of scientific studies on its website to provide a “level of transparency that a lot of other companies don’t and to show we really stand by our claims,” he said.
Faster but not necessarily stronger
To further ensure the ingredients deliver maximum benefit, Yoshimura said NeuroGum is cold-compressed, rather than extruded like most other gums. As with the trendy premium juices exploding currently, cold-compressing the gum helps maintain the ingredients’ efficiency, Yoshimura said. This means consumers gain the full benefit without the company needing to increase the amount of each ingredient in the gum.
In addition, consumers experience the benefits of the ingredients five times faster through the chewing gum than they would through an energy drink, according to the firm’s website. It adds that drinking the ingredients would slow down their absorption by 30 minutes and poses a risk of degrading the effective compounds either by stomach acid or bile.
The gum also is a more convenient way to access energy than through drinks in part because it is small enough to pack in a pocket, the same for which cannot be said about a cup of coffee or other energy drink, the co-founders say in a video prepared for the Indigogo campaign.
Also unlike coffee or energy drinks, the gum freshens breath and won’t cause multiple bathroom trips, Yoshimura said, echoing claims also made by caffeinated Jolt energy gum, which recently revamped its packaging and formulation.
NeuroGum comes in a blister pack similar to Jolt, but its outer wrapping is a 180 degree turn in terms of style. While Jolt is packaged with bright colors and its iconic lightning bolt, NeuroGum is wrapped in a subtle white sleeve with light blue writing and a basic line drawing that Yoshimura says recalls the rising sun and a light bulb, which often is associated with innovation.
The packaging, like that of Simply Gum, should appeal to a sophisticated set of consumers who work in the technology and tend to be drawn more to clean, simple lines, Yoshimura said.
The gum originally came in a tin, which would have further differentiated it from competitors, but Yoshimura said the tins were difficult to fill and the blister packs are more cost effective for the company and can be sold at a lower price-point for easier consumer access.
More money equals more opportunities
When NeuroGum quickly exceeded its fundraising goal, the co-founders were quick to update the page with additional ambitious goals for product development that go beyond simply completing manufacturing.
If they can raise an additional $5,000 beyond their original $10,000 goal, the firm plans to launch a Zen line extension that will be a calming gum that does not include caffeine.
If they can double their original goal, NeuroGum’s founders say they want to formulate two additional flavors of its original energizing formula – cinnamon and tropical.