What’s the best way to stay up to date on things happening within your industry? Seasoned finance professionals read the Wall Street Journal. Anyone who wants to work in politics reads The Washington Post. In Silicon Valley we have industry-specific news sites like TechCrunch supplemented by Hacker News and others.
But what about young business professionals who either don’t plan on staying in one industry their whole life or just want to stay up to date on the broader business/tech/startups/politics world?
Morning Brew is a daily newsletter designed for young business professionals. Each morning email has a stock market recap, a few short briefs on the most important business news of the day and a small section with lifestyle content. The result is the perfect mix of Wall Street essentials (like market analysis) and tech news (like a deep dive on Y Combinator).
The newsletter, which now has just under 200,000 total subscribers, was founded by Alex Lieberman and Austin Rief in 2015 when they were students at the University of Michigan.
“We worked with more than 75 students to help them prepare for interviews and internships and we’d always ask the question, “How do you keep up with the business world?” It was like every student had rehearsed their answers together beforehand, saying something to the effect of “I read the WSJ…and I read it because it’s a prerequisite to say you’re well-read in business and it’s what my parents do, but it’s dense, dry, and too long to read cover-to-cover,” explained the duo.
So Morning Brew was born. While initially college-focused, that segment has shrunk to 30% of their total audience with the average reader now 28-years-old working in finance, tech, or consulting. Of course there’s nothing stopping an older reader from signing up, and if anything sites like Axios have shown that even non-millennials may now prefer short bullet-point briefings over traditional long-form reporting.
But business-minded millennials are definitely the long-term focus of Morning Brew – and for good reason. The segment is extremely sought after in the advertising world, which has helped the startup monetize early. So far they’ve hosted sponsored native content from brands like Discover Card, Casper and Duke University. The diversity of sponsors shows just how many different industries are trying to reach the demographic.
Similar to other newsletter businesses like theSkimm, Morning Brew has mainly relied on word of mouth referrals and an ambassador program of 700+ students to drive new signups. Total subscribers are nearing 200,000 with a daily open rate hovering around 50%, which for reference is at least double most other popular industry newsletters.
The long term goal is to grow the newsletter into a brand that can touch all aspects of a young professional’s life, including networking. The site is launching a monthly event series this summer to bring together millennials to network and watch panel discussions, which should provide the off-line community building that has proved successful for other media brands.
The startup has raised $750,000 in seed funding from notable media execs including Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of The Points Guy, and is targeting a Series A in 2019.