When Michael Dubin and Mark Levine founded Dollar Shave Club in 2011, their vision was pure and simple: For as little as $1 a month, customers could get high-quality razors delivered right to their door. DSC's mantra — "Stop paying for shave tech you don't need" — took a direct shot at the pricey name-brand razors sold in retail stores.
Their back-to-basics approach worked. Some of the biggest names in the venture world, including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Andreessen Horowitz, bet big on their vision, providing more than $1 million in a Series A round for the blade subscription service.
Just three years later, in 2015, Dollar Shave claimed 48.6 percent of the online razor market, shaking up giants Gillette and Schick, according to data from online retail consultancy Slice Intelligence. The company has grown to include a team of over 600 employees globally and has more than 4 million subscribers.
"I knew the business was a good idea, because I myself had experienced the problem of razors being overpriced and the shopping experience being incredibly frustrating, and I knew if I had the problem, then other people probably had the same problem as well," said Dubin, who is also the company's CEO.
In July 2016 personal-care products giant Unilever acquired Dollar Shave in an all-cash $1 billion deal. "I had never been through a transaction like that before. ... So obviously you can imagine that was pretty terrifying," Dubin said.