In what is believed to be the third largest ecommerce acquisition deal of all time, Unilever is to buy internet startup Dollar Shave Club for $1bn.
Founded in 2011 and based in California, Dollar Shave Club operates a direct-to-consumer subscription model with three levels of membership:
- The Humble Twin (two blades per razor, five razors per month, $3 per month)
- The 4X (four blades, four razors, $6
- The Executive (six blades, four razors, $9).
It has also branched out into shaving products and haircare products, and around 20% of its customers are women, although it markets itself predominantly at men.
Dollar Shave Club operates in the US, Canada, and Australia, and it is expected the post-acquisition business will expand into new territories. It achieved fame when, in 2012, its CEO Michael Dubin featured in a promotional video (called “Our Blades Are F***ing Great”) which eventually received over 22m views on YouTube and triggered 12,000 orders over a two-day period.
According to Forbes, Dollar Shave Club had raised over $160 million in venture capital funding, most recently last November at a $539 million valuation.
Co-founder and CEO Dubin said in a statement: “Dollar Shave Club couldn’t be happier to have the world’s most innovative and progressive consumer-product company in our corner.
“We have long admired Unilever’s purpose-driven business leadership and its category expertise is unmatched. We are excited to be part of the family.”