Coffee is undeniably great, and it’s much better when it’s freshly brewed. However, brewing takes time that most busy people can’t afford. Kweku Larbi created Brumachen to solve this problem and teamed up with social media star Ross Smith. The company sells portable coffee brewers and eco-friendly coffee pods. They featured on Shark Tank but didn’t get a deal. As of 2023, Brumachen is worth $300,000.
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 make 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. Because of his presence, Larbi connected with him while working on his coffee startup. Essentially Kweku is the brains behind the product and Ross is involved mainly because he has a large following.
While working on construction sites, Larbi became dependent on coffee to get him through the day. However, there were no decent coffee vendors near where he was working. This ignited the idea of a coffee machine that he could take anywhere.
The engineering student created a prototype for a single-serve portable brewer with the use of a 3D printer and Brumachen was born. Along with it, the creator made biodegradable coffee capsules called Leaf Pods.
During their collab, Ross loved Kweku’s idea, so he decided to become a partner in 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 Pitch
Though they had a very successful Kickstarter campaign, the founders struggled with manufacturing and shipping. So, they sought out help from the Sharks in 2021. They appeared on season 12 of the show, asking for $1 million for a 10% equity stake in their business.
Ross and Kweku delivered a confident pitch, clearly articulating the rationale behind the creation of the product. They further explained that Brumachen has a profit margin of 60%. However, things went south when they revealed how little they made in sales.
A valuation of $10 million was insanely high for a business with $41,000 in sales. The Sharks liked the product but Mark and Robert thought the design could be improved. The pitch would have gone better if Kweku was by himself and had a reasonable valuation.
What Happened 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 operating but it’s not exactly thriving.
The Brumachen brewer and pods are only available on their website, Brumachen.com. However, many people are hesitant to buy from them as recent Kickstarter comments are mostly negative. Some customers are complaining about not receiving their order and others claim the product was damaged during shipping.
Brumachen Brewer averages three stars based on 102 reviews on their website. Despite the bad reception, they are still taking orders, but are not shipping internationally. Brumachen hasn’t reported any recent sales figures and the company is worth an estimated $300,000. For the business to recover, they will make the product more consumer-friendly and get a patent on biodegradable pods.