To silence her stubborn hiccups during the summer of 2010, Mallory Kievman tried swallowing saltwater, making herself gag, eating a spoonful of sugar, sipping pickle juice and drinking a glass of water upside-down. Nearly two years and 100 attempted folk remedies later, the 13-year-old is preparing to lead a team of M.B.A. students from the University of Connecticut in building a company that can bring her invention — Hiccupops, or hiccup-stopping lollipops — to market this summer.
“It’s very rare, when you’re evaluating businesses, that you can envision a company or product being around 100 years from now,” said Danny Briere, a serial entrepreneur and the founder of Startup Connecticut, which nurtures new companies, including Hiccupops, and is a regional affiliate of the Startup America Partnership. “Hiccupops is one of those things. It solves a very simple, basic need.”
She had developed the product in her family’s Manchester, Conn., kitchen, amalgamating her three favorite cures — lollipops, apple cider vinegar and sugar — into a single confection. “It triggers a set of nerves in your throat and mouth that are responsible for the hiccup reflex arc,” said Mallory with a matter-of-fact tone. “It basically over-stimulates those nerves and cancels out the message to hiccup.”
Intellectual property lawyers filed for a patent, now pending, on Mallory’s behalf.
“It’s a nifty invention and it has some terrific potential benefits for society,” said Mr. Levesque. “It straddles that line between an attractive, go-to product that people might like to savor and a helpful nutraceutical aid. It’s innovative, born of some real ingenuity.”
Mallory hopes Hiccupops will become a staple of school nurses’ offices and drugstores. She also wants to explore a medical niche, since hiccups are a common and uncomfortable side effect of chemotherapy. “It always has been really appealing to me to be able to sort of have a product out there that can help people,” she said. “I want to become a doctor and go into medicine.”