January 21, 2019
Startups & Entrepreneurs

UConn, DECD seed CT pain-cream venture

Photo | Contributed
Photo | Contributed
The Feel Good Lab co-founders C.J. Forse (left) and Ryan Gresh (right).
Matt Pilon

With the help of their alma mater and the Department of Economic and Community Development, three UConn alums are looking to take their fledgling company, maker of an over-the-counter topical pain-relief cream, to the next level.

The Feel Good Lab plans to hire several people this year at its Newington Ave. warehouse in New Britain and New Haven office, with the help of $150,000 from DECD's Small Business Express program and $100,000 from the UConn Innovation Fund.

If the company hits $1 million in sales revenue by year's end, DECD has pledged an additional $200,000 loan.

Hiring one or two warehouse workers in New Britain will free up the co-founders — C.J. Forse, Ryan Gresh and Kyle Fitzpatrick — to focus on growing the business.

The Feel Good Lab is already selling its inaugural product, Natural Pain Cream, through its website and on Amazon, as well as in nearly 100 brick-and-mortar Select Physical Therapy locations in the Northeast.

The cream, marketed as an all-natural remedy with ingredients like menthol, turmeric, arnica and devil's claw, can't be found in major pharmacies yet, but that is a long-term goal.

In the meantime, the company just launched its second product offering, a different formulation called Sport Recovery Lotion, which the company is marketing to athletes.

News of UConn's equity investment came, coincidentally, almost 10 years to the day when the co-founders graduated from the school with degrees in engineering.

Working with the UConn Innovation Fund will help The Feel Good Lab test its product on athletes, said Gresh, whose pharmacist father, Gene Gresh, developed the original formula for the cream on which the company has based its products.

"UConn is going to open the door for a ton of opportunities for us when it comes to partnering with some of the sports teams," Gresh said.

The company hopes to complete a scientific trial to test the effects of its cream against placebos. Over-the-counter remedies must be careful with the claims they make in marketing and advertising, or risk running afoul of Food & Drug Administration rules. Like many, The Feel Good Lab relies in large part on customer testimonials in its marketing.

A trial, if the results are positive, could allow the company to make additional claims about its efficacy in treating muscle soreness.

In addition to the UConn and DECD funding, the company has also raised $175,000 from friends and family and says it is negotiating a $300,000 investment with angel investors.

"By the end of 2019, we hope and expect to be a household name," Forse said.

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