San Francisco, California
Less than 10
Electrolyte replacement drinks for adults and children
Chances are you've experienced dehydration at some point in your life. Every day, your body naturally loses water through breathing, evaporation, and urine excretion. Physical activity, extreme heat, illness, stress, plane travel, and alcohol consumption can compound this loss, and if you're not taking steps to replace it, you may quickly suffer the consequences. Dehydration's telltale signs include dry mouth, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headaches, irritability, lack of focus, and more.
James and the company's other co-founders had also experienced debilitating dehydration. A pro athlete and veteran, James battled the effects of fluid loss alongside other runners and his troops. His brother, Tom Mayo, also a pro athlete, suffered dehydration during a pivotal race in brutal summer heat and missed out on qualifying for the Olympics as a result. And Blanca Lizaola-Mayo, James' wife and a board-certified internist and transplant hepatology fellow, had observed dehydration's effects in her patients.
Their combined experience and disappointment with the sugary sports drinks available on the market at the time led to the creation of SOS Hydration, an electrolyte replacement drink -- or oral rehydration solution -- formulated for fast absorption and rapid hydration. Each serving of SOS Hydration, whether in powder or ready-to-drink form, provides 330 milligrams of sodium, 190 milligrams of potassium, and a mere 3 grams of sugar along with 3 grams of carbs.
"Our product has the lowest sugar content on the market," says James. "And we're the only company with independent research as well as empirical research to back up our claims."
Because of SOS Hydration's low osmolarity compared to its closest competitor, it hydrates cells three times better and is as effective as an IV drip for combatting mild to moderate dehydration. Manufactured in California by undisclosed FDA-approved copackers, the product relies on freeze dried fruit for flavor, Stevia as a sweetener, and is non-GMO verified and NSF certified.
"We use a fantastic set of copackers," James says. "They have the capacity to grow with us as we grow." And grow they must -- James says that by the end of 2020, SOS Hydration's sales had skyrocketed 330 percent over those of the first quarter.
While athletes can benefit from the product, James notes that they make up just a small portion of the company's market. "People have realized that they need hydration," he continues. "They are wanting to move away from sports drinks and are searching for better options. Everyone can take SOS, and if you hydrate ahead of the game, you're not going to get dehydrated."
The company introduced SOS Kids, electrolyte drink mix sticks specifically formulated for children, in late August of this year.
"I’m a dad of two young girls," James says, "and I didn't like the lunchbox options that kids have available to them. They're full of artificial nasties or boatloads of sugar. We created the first kid-specific electrolyte drink and were fortunate enough to partner with the team at PAW Patrol. The brand has gone crazy, so we'll see where that takes us."
SOS Hydration's adult powdered products are available in CVS Pharmacy stores throughout the U.S., with the company's ready-to-drink product available in about 1,000 locations. James says that consumers can also find the products in Kroger stores and subsidiaries in some parts of the country along with Whole Foods. SOS Kids is available in every Walmart throughout the nation. All SOS Hydration products can also be purchased directly from the company's website.
Challenges: James says the company's biggest current challenge is managing growth. "There's a lot of change happening, which is super, but we have to remain flexible," he continues. "That means adding team members, increasing production, everything."
Opportunities: "Everyone is realizing they need hydration," James says. "And COVID, as much as it's a horrible disease, has done us a favor in terms of people realizing that they need to hydrate because it helps with their immunity."
Needs: "Just keeping up with the growth," James says. "There's always a hiccup, and nothing is ever in a straight line, but that's the joy of it."