A startup to watch this summer…
Today, we all move at a fast pace to meet deadlines, start new projects and make an impact in the world. Who has time anymore to sit down and read the Wall Street Journal from front to back everyday? College students and young working professionals especially are always looking for ways to make the most out of their time “on the go.” An emerging newsletter startup called Morning Brew delivers important business news in manageable sound bites so readers can stay informed without losing much of their valuable time.
The Center for Entrepreneurship spoke to Morning Brew founder, U-M Business student Alex Lieberman to talk about his growing business and the journey that made him an entrepreneur.
CFE: Describe your business. Who are your customers?
Alex Lieberman: I am the founder of Morning Brew. It is a free daily email newsletter that acts as a one-stop shop to keep young business professionals up to date on the business world. It is written in a conversational and witty tone with a true variety of content (short, digestible summaries of the financial markets, real estate, technology, entrepreneurship, interview question of the day, business term of the day) in order to identify with the passionate young business mind. Our readers range from analysts on Wall Street to business-interested college students preparing for interviews.
CFE: How did you come up with this venture? What problem are you solving?
AL: After spending two months helping friends and peers with job interview prep this past semester, I decided that there had to be a better platform for college students and young professionals to become informed in a quick and quality manner about what was going on in the business world. Before Morning Brew, I created something called Market Corner, which was a 2-page PDF file that I wrote each day for 2 months straight. Market Corner included summaries of five major business stories, the levels of major stock indices, the economic calendar, a business term of the day, an interview question of the day, and a business figure of the day. I started by sending this to five of my roommates, and after writing Market Corner for two months, the listserv had expanded to 250 subscribers. It was at that point that I brought on Austin Rief, a Sophomore BBA minoring in Computer Science, to fully develop Market Corner into what is now known as Morning Brew.
The goal of the Brew is to align with the lifestyles and interests of young business people (ages 17-25), a demographic we believe to be underserved and neglected by current business news. This includes creating digestible and relevant business news summaries that fit the busy lifestyles of our readers.
CFE: What challenges are your startup currently facing and what are you doing to overcome them?
AL: Exposure. As a start-up newsletter, our number one priority and challenge is to get as many eyes looking at our product as possible. We are confident that the quality is there and that we serve the interests of our ideal users, so now it’s all about creating partnerships, being featured in the press and using any and all channels to expand our reach.
CFE: Why did you decide to pursue your own business venture?
AL: While I have a passion for finance and enjoy using my quantitative and analytical skills, I have always had an interest in being entrepreneurial – a discipline that requires both analytical and creative strengths. That said, the timing of Morning Brew was completely unexpected. Originally, I believed the most opportune time to pursue a business venture was after working for years in finance, gaining transferable skills, building a capital base as well as growing my network. I feel extremely lucky that I have had the opportunity to become an entrepreneur so early and am amazed by the lessons I have already learned about running a business and working with others.
CFE: How do you balance being an entrepreneur with being a full-time student?
AL: Luckily, I only had to take two-one credit classes this semester, so I have been afforded a significant amount of time to devote to Morning Brew. That said, it is a constant challenge to balance working on my startup with the temptations of spending time with friends and just hanging out as a second semester senior. I just try to keep in perspective the opportunity we have and reassure myself that this venture will be worth it, if for no other reason than being an incredible learning experience.
CFE: What resources or people have made an impact on your journey?
AL: My Family — My mom (Stacey), sister (Sydney), and grandparents have given me unconditional encouragement and advice, that without it, Morning Brew would not be where it is today. I am confident that it is their words of wisdom that will continue to help propel this business to new heights.
My Mentors — There are so many friends, peers, etc in my life that have taken the role of mentors to the business. Ricky, Shashi, Michael, and Eric, to name a few, have all been crucial in helping to develop this business and offer advice related to their specific skill sets. Each offers a different perspective and different set of strengths, and it is the diversity in this group of mentors that has allowed Morning Brew to create an enticing and professionally written daily newsletter.
CFE: What advice do you have for other students starting a business?
AL: Just go for it. No time is ever the “convenient” time to start a business. Worst case scenario, the business fails and it was an incredible learning experience. That’s a pretty good worst case scenario. The actual worst case scenario is if you don’t start the business and miss out on creating something that could become popular, profitable and influential.
Follow the team on social media as they grow their business.