The coffee is undeniably excellent, and tastes so much better freshly brewed. However, brewing takes time that most busy people cannot afford. Kweku Larbi created Brumachen to solve this problem and teamed up with social media star Ross Smith. The company sells portable coffee makers and eco-friendly coffee pods. They were featured on Shark Tank but didn’t get a contract. In 2022, Brumachen is worth $300,000.
About the Founders
Originally from Ghana, West Africa, Kweku Larbi immigrated to the United States with just $2,000 to his name. He studied civil engineering at Cleveland State University and worked odd jobs to earn enough money to pay the bills.
Ross Smith is a social media influencer from Columbus, Ohio. He rose to internet fame by making silly videos with his grandmother. Ross and Grandma Smith are more popular on TikTok, with over 22.7 million followers on the platform.
The content creator has collaborated with massive brands like Burger King and the NFL. Due to his presence, Larbi connected with him while working on his coffee startup. Essentially, Kweku is the mastermind behind the product, and Ross is involved primarily because he has a large following.
While working on construction sites, Larbi became dependent on coffee to get through the day. However, there were no decent coffee vendors near where he worked. This sparked the idea of a coffee machine that he could take anywhere.
The engineering student created a prototype single-serve portable brewer using a 3D printer and Brumachen was born. At the same time, the creator made biodegradable coffee capsules called Leaf Pods.
During their collaboration, Ross loved Kweku’s idea, so he decided to partner with the company. In 2020, the co-founders launched a Kickstarter campaign, asking for $6,000. However, they ended up raising $41,553 from 470 backers,
Shark Tank Appearance
Although they had a very successful Kickstarter campaign, the founders struggled with manufacturing and shipping. So they asked the Sharks for help in 2021. They appeared on season 12 of the show, asking for $1 million for a 10% stake in their business.
Ross and Kweku delivered a confident pitch, clearly articulating the rationale for creating the product. They further explained that Brumachen has a profit margin of 60%. However, things got out of hand when they revealed how few sales they were making.
A $10 million valuation was incredibly high for a company with $41,000 in revenue. The Sharks liked the product, but Mark and Robert thought the design could be improved. The pitch would have gone better if Kweku was on his own and had a reasonable valuation.
After Shark Tank
The founders didn’t get the money they asked for, but they got enough publicity to keep their business afloat after Shark Tank. The business is still running, but not really flourishing.
The Brumachen brewer and pods are only available through their website, Brumachen.com. However, many people are hesitant to buy from them because recent Kickstarter reviews are mostly negative. Some customers complain that they did not receive their order and others claim that the product was damaged during shipping.
Brumachen Brewer averages three stars based on 102 reviews on its website. Despite the poor reception, they are still taking orders, but not shipping internationally. Brumachen did not report recent sales figures, and the company’s value is estimated at $300,000. In order for the company to recover, they will make the product more user-friendly and obtain a patent on the biodegradable pods.