Entrepreneurial teenager takes his product to market on TV’s Hatched
He started his first business venture in sixth grade, bringing a photo booth to Hillel Day School’s Israel Independence Day celebration and donating the proceeds to the school. A few years later, he was selling photo montages of friends’ bar and bat mitzvah celebrations.
Now Max Feber, 17, hopes to hit the big time with a home system for making cold-brew coffee. At 9:30 a.m. Feb. 25, Feber will present his BRUW system on Hatched, a syndicated television show that airs in the Detroit area on WMYD-TV.
Feber of West Bloomfield developed BRUW during his sophomore year at Frankel Jewish Academy. He presented it as his class project in a course at Lawrence Technological University called New Business Ventures.
Max says he’s always loved coffee, and found cold-brewed coffee to be less bitter and acidic. The trick with cold brew isn’t the actual brewing but the filtering of the liquid from the coffee grounds. Max wanted to create a cold-brew method people could use at home.
“My first attempts were a mess,” said Max, recalling his efforts to filter coffee using paper towels and cheesecloth. He started making progress when he cut up an old screen door. In April 2015, he filed a patent for his system, which is still pending.
In December 2015, Max, then a high school junior, started a Kickstarter campaign and raised more than $10,000 from more than 180 backers, which he used to develop a manufacturing system. He doesn’t like to share sales figures, but notes he has sold the BRUW in Israel, Australia and Singapore as well as the U.S.
So far, he sells only on his website, www.bruw.net, but he hopes his appearance on Hatched will change that. The award-winning program connects inventors and product developers with retail and corporate partners, digital marketing experts and investors. Although Max’s segment taped in November, he is sworn to secrecy about what happened until the program is broadcast.
Whatever the results, his parents and teachers are kvelling.
“Max is a really sweet kid with a strong passion and conviction for his business,” said Melanie Sesi, a social studies teacher at Frankel, who also co-taught the entrepreneurship class at LTU.
“I’ve had the pleasure of watching his company develop from the beginning, and it has been fascinating to see such amazing entrepreneurial skills in a young person.”
The Feber family is deeply involved in Detroit’s Jewish community as members of Congregation B’nai Israel and Congregation Beth Ahm, both in West Bloomfield, and as community volunteers. Father David, a management consultant, is president of Hillel Day School where Max’s siblings, Harrison, 13, and Julia, 10, are students. The children all attended Tamarack Camps.
Mom Susan is a retired attorney and professional community volunteer; she serves on the Jewish Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy Board.
Max finds time to serve as treasurer of Shapiro AZA and to volunteer with Friendship Circle. He interns with PeerCorps Detroit, which does service-based work to bridge the gap between the city and suburbs.
“We’re so proud of him,” Susan Feber said. “He’s always been entrepreneurial. He has no boundaries. He’s the kind of person who doesn’t see limits.”