Brooks Powell '17

Founder and CEO, Cheers

Brooks graduated from Princeton with an A.B. in Religion and a certificate from the Keller Center's Program in Entrepreneurship. Shortly after graduating in 2017, Brooks won Princeton's inaugural Tiger Entrepreneurship Award, which is given annually to up to four undergraduate students, graduate students, or early career alumni who demonstrate success in entrepreneurship.

Through an independent research project reviewing new advancements in the academic literature surrounding alcohol neurochemistry, Brooks came across the recent discovery of the alcohol-related properties of dihydromyricetin (DHM). Working with his professors, Cheers was founded in 2014 when Brooks imported DHM into the United States and conducted Cheers' first successful human trial. Brooks subsequently filed patents on the combination of DHM and cysteine for mitigating alcohol's health effects.

With $20,000 in inheritance left by his grandfather, Brooks built the foundation for Cheers in his dorm room. Along the way, he took advantage of Princeton's various entrepreneurial resources, including the eLab Summer Accelerator. Upon graduation, Brooks went on Shark Tank, where he got into a heated argument with Mark Cuban and did not secure funding. Shortly thereafter, Cheers raised $2.1 million from venture capital firms—most notably, Fitz Gate Ventures.

Brooks has continued to keep ties to Princeton by partnering with the University through sponsored research agreements. In 2019, Robert Prud'homme's lab discovered a way to increase the bioavailability of DHM by up to 19x through the novel use of permeabilizer technology. Cheers and Princeton are co-inventors on the patent applications of this technology, which today can be found in the company's beverage products.

Through online channels, Cheers has reached profitability, generated $40 million in revenue, sold around 20 million doses, and has served almost 400,000 customers. The next stage for Brooks and Cheers is brick-and-mortar retail distribution.