Sisun Lee, Founder/CEO of Morning Recovery, joins us to discuss how he manages his startup’s growth in Silicon Valley.
- Sisun explains how he came up with the idea for Morning Recovery and executed his idea into a successful company.
- His Korean heritage (and Koreans’ affinity for drinking) was one of the keys to getting the idea for the product.
- He had tried similar drinks in Korea, and wanted to dive into the science behind the drinks and how he could create his own product.
- DHM, an antioxidant found in Korean raisin trees, is the secret to Morning Recovery’s success.
- After creating the drink with the help of Dr. Jing Liang, a USC professor, Sisun gave prototypes to his friends at Tesla, Uber, and Facebook.
- Overwhelming demand forced Sisun to quit his job at Tesla and work full-time for Morning Recovery.
- Indiegogo was the first major step in evaluating market demand.
- Sisun explains how he manages the company’s explosive growth.
- Being first to market was a major factor in the growth.
- To test Morning Recovery, Sisun would give his friends placebo bottles and measure against new formulas.
- Version 2 will be released soon, as the Morning Recovery team underestimated how much people drink with the release of Version 1.
- We were lucky enough to receive a sample of Version 2!
- Sisun tells us what it’s like managing venture capital and potential investors in Silicon Valley (there are more investors willing to invest than Morning Recovery can accept!).
- Their Series A round will be launched in the first quarter of 2018.
- Silicon Valley has played a huge impact on the success of the company.
- It is much easier to be successful if you’re surrounded by like-minded people.
- Sisun only considered in Los Angeles and New York for the headquarters of Morning Recovery.
- The location also plays a huge role in finding talent to work for the company.
- Small things, such as being able to go to parties with social media celebrities, provide invaluable exposure for the company.
- What separates successful startups in Silicon Valley from the others?
- It all comes down to execution and having a clear focus.
- Morning Recovery is not the first hangover cure, just as Soylent is not the first meal replacement.
- The success can be attributed to having great products and being very marketable.
- What is Sisun’s “normal” work schedule?
- It’s a fire drill – get the most urgent thing done everyday.
- Every employee is a generalist and can be called on to perform any task.
- It’s impossible to think even one month ahead because of the intense workload. Everything is day-to-day.
- What’s next with Morning Recovery?
- Version 2 is coming to market soon and should be the main product in the future.
- Version 1 was a good test and measure of customer demand, but was primiarily .
- There also could be pills/powder sold online to provide a cheaper alternative than a bottled drink.
Last call questions and answers:
- What’s the best career advice you’ve received?
- You need to focus on the most impactful thing the company needs, identify it, and get it done.
- Go above and beyond your job description.
- What advice would your 60-year-old self give you today?
- Be more bold (it seems many older people regret not taking action).
- The best thing you have spent money on in the past 6 months:
- What media do you recommend:
- Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
- Favorite thing to drink:
Special shoutouts and show notes:
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Prior to starting Morning Recovery, Sisun was a staff product manager at Tesla, and a product manager at Uber and Facebook. He graduated with a Systems Design Engineering degree from the University of Waterloo.
His story with Morning Recovery begins with his trip to Korea where he witnessed locals frequently taking drinking supplements after drinking alcohol. Back in the States, he dove into research, and created Morning Recovery with the goal of helping people get back their time.
“We want you to wake up the next morning feeling amazing and ready to tackle your day.”