From a college start-up to a $75 million media company, Morning Brew became one of the biggest news sources for young professionals. And they did it without ever charging their subscribers a dime.
What does this newsletter, coffee, and your email provider have in common? Together, they create the perfect start to your day. The idea of two college students, this newsletter started as a fun hobby. But in just seven years, this novel idea scaled into a $75 million brand.
Plus, learn how you can brew your own 7-figure brand—FREE!
|Company Name:||Morning Brew|
|Founders:||Alex Lieberman and Austin Rief|
|Type of Business:||Media Company|
What is Morning Brew?
It is a media company that delivers daily news briefings via newsletters, podcasts, and social media platforms. According to the company's LinkedIn, the newsletter is "redefining the business news landscape through approachable, digestible—and not to brag—downright funny content."
Who founded Morning Brew?
What is Morning Brew’s origin story?
During their senior year at the University of Michigan, Liberman and Rief founded this newsletter as a side project. They wanted to create a fun business newsletter for other students and published the first editions from their dorm room. "I need to do something to pass the time and keep myself sharp for my job," Lieberman explained in an NPR interview.
Other students got their news from The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, and other news outlets. But it wasn't because they wanted to—they felt obligated. Lieberman started writing a witty business news roundup and emailed it to interested students. It quickly caught on, and many students began waking up to a Morning Brew email.
By 2017, Morning Brew Inc surpassed over 100K subs, and both founders officially quit their day jobs to work full-time at their new company.
How was Morning Brew funded?
The co-founders unconventionally raised money—they funded everything themselves initially. As Lieberman explained in the Founder's Journal, "Things like raising venture capital money, taking out debt, or even raising a family and friends round weren't on our radar for several years because this was just a side project."
By the end of 2017, they raised $750K from friends and family in a seed round.
What made Morning Brew grow?
It grew beyond the founders' wildest dreams—and pretty fast, too! Perhaps the most significant driver in the brand's growth is its referral program. "The high levels that more than 300,000 subscribers—so obviously more than 10 percent of our subscribers—have gotten at least one referral. When you think about that, it's pretty crazy," Lieberman elaborated in 2021.
They also owe much of their success to maintaining a solid company culture. Lieberman said, "Having our culture scale with our size has been incredibly important. Hiring people who embody your values and being very strict to this rule is 90% of scaling culture."
What is its valuation?
In 2020, Insider Inc. acquired a majority stake in the company for $75 million in an all-cash deal. "We've been aware of their product for a long time and have been talking to them for a couple of years," said Henry Blodget, CEO at Insider Inc.
What can entrepreneurs learn from Morning Brew's story?
This newsletter grew from a college dorm room into a multimillion-dollar company seemingly overnight. Here are some takeaways from the brand's story:
- Keep your brand personable. Brands with personality perk up people—just like a strong cup of coffee! The newsletter delivers the news in an upbeat, fun way. Blake Solomon, the former Director of Branded Content, wrote, "Everything we do is focused on the 3 E's: Educate, Entertain, Engage." And the company doesn't plan on changing this super successful model anytime soon.
- Avoid alienating your audience with biases. The newsletter maintains an unbiased stance. Instead of brewing up biased reports that could leave behind a bitter taste, the brand only publishes informative, factual news stories without a hidden agenda.
What is Morning Brew?
How is Morning Brew delivered?
The daily newsletter gets delivered to your inbox every morning—and it's free!
And no, a Morning Brew app doesn't exist.
What type of content does Morning Brew feature?
According to their website, the newsletter covers everything from Wall St. to Silicon Valley.
Is there a podcast associated with Morning Brew?
Yes, there are four Morning Brew podcasts. They are:
- Morning Brew Daily
- Founder's Journal (formerly The Crazy Ones)
- The Money with Katie Show
- Imposters (no new episodes since March 2023)
Does Morning Brew offer any paid subscription models?
Nope! Is it free? Yes, all Morning Brew newsletters are completely free for readers. The company makes money from Morning Brew merchandise, Morning Brew accelerator courses, ad revenue, and lots of sponsorships.
The best part of waking up? Morning Brew in your inbox! Unbiased, witty, easy-to-digest news reports put this newsletter on the map. And $75 million later, it's become the favorite news source for millions.
Start your day with a cup of inspiration from Morning Brew and discover how this free daily newsletter transformed into a $75 million media company. With its witty and informative content, this newsletter has become the go-to news source for young professionals, amassing a loyal following of 4 million subscribers and counting.
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