The Morning Brew Story: A College Newsletter Becomes a Staple for 2 Million Subscribers

The Morning Brew Story: A College Newsletter Becomes a Staple for 2 Million Subscribers

By Kendall Fisher, executive producer

Morning Brew has that entrepreneurial story you look forward to hearing.

In 2015, Alex Lieberman was a senior at the University of Michigan with some extra time on his hands before beginning his first job in finance. So, he started a service to help business students prepare for job and internship interviews. When he’d ask these students how and why they kept up with business news, common responses included: “The Wall Street Journal … because I have to” and, worse yet, “because my parents told me to.” 

Cue Lieberman’s lightbulb.

He saw the need for a daily roundup of business news that students could read with ease, in a timely manner and — hang on to your britches — maybe even with some light laughter. So, he bootstrapped University of Michigan’s “Market Corner” newsletter and sent it out every morning in the form of a PDF to students who “subscribed” (which, back then, meant sending him their email addresses, which he added to a spreadsheet). 

He then brought on current COO Austin Rief (at the time a college sophomore) to help run the business, and in a year and a half, the two realized the newsletter had potential to expand far beyond the University of Michigan.

They were right.

After rebranding the newsletter into the “Morning Brew” and raising money from family and friends, Lieberman and Rief grew readership through cross-promotions with like-minded brands and ambassador and referral programs. By the end of 2019, Morning Brew reached two million subscribers daily.

However, both Lieberman and Rief agree that the number isn’t the point.

We sat down with the duo to discuss Morning Brew’s overall growth story, what success really means to them at this point in their journey and the obstacles they’ve faced along the way. They also dive into the company’s business model and how they’ve found ways to diversify both their revenue streams and audience.

Tune in to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and YouTube.