Dollar Shave Club, another startup from L.A.-based incubator Science, begins with a simple premise: They send all the dandy shave-oholics out there who love the idea of a close shave but hate the idea of spending a horrendous amount each month, a basket of high-quality disposable razors.
We know, we know — it sounds silly. But investors didn’t think it was so silly.
In fact, Silicon Valley fat cats at Kleiner Perkins, Andreesen Horowitz, Shasta Ventures, Felicis Ventures*, Forerunner Ventures, and a handful of well-known individuals have contributed to a $1 million dollar first round of funding.
Science companies are, more often than not, based on the very simple but very real concept of finding gaps in a marketplace. The incubator first launched Eventup, a site that helps you find cool and unique event venues. Its next launches were Wittlebee, a mom-commerce subscription service, and Dog Vacay, an Airbnb for dogs whose “parents” need to get out of town.
None of these are incredibly high-tech ideas. But for Science co-founders Mike Jones (MySpace’s former CEO) and Peter Pham (who co-founded Color), tech is almost beside the point. They’re looking for opportunities to profit, and a great idea beautifully executed is, for them, like apples of gold in pictures of silver. It fits their idea of an L.A. startup’s hustle-heavy business model.
So, for Dollar Shave Club, Science is again investing in subscription commerce for an item a lot of people need to use (and usually need to throw away and buy over and over again). We’ve seen a ton of subscription commerce models, and this is one that makes a ton of sense.
Here’s co-founder Michael Dubin explaining why it makes sense to him in an Old Spice Guy-reminiscent commercial spot that’s way more entertaining than most startup demo videos (hint: our headline came from this video, in case you were beginning to speculate that we just enjoy being randomly offensive around here):
“The shave game has gotten totally out of control, and it’s time someone brought sanity back to the price and the process,” said Dubin in a statement released today.
DSC’s prices are rock-bottom low. As a non-hairy-legged-type lady, I can vouch for that; it’s not uncommon to drop between $8 and $20 per month on razors, depending on how fancy one is feeling.
DSC packages, on the other hand, start at just $1 per month plus $2 for shipping charges. That’ll get you “The Humble Twin,” a package that includes a standard two-blade razor. The “4x” package will get you a four-blade razor, and “The Executive” is the monster truck of razors: six blades and lubricating strips with aloe, Vitamin E, and lavender. The latter packages are $6 and $9 per month respectively. Each package includes a compatible handle (heads can be swapped out), and all the heads pivot.
You can cancel your subscription or upgrade or downgrade your preferred razor package at any time.
If we have one beef with Dollar Shave Club, it’s the site’s unrelenting manliness. C’mon Dubin et al.: Guys usually just shave their faces. Most ladies, on the other hand, have so much more real estate to cover. Should your checkin button really read “real men click” when ladies have a lot more shavin’ (and household shopping) going on?
Other than that, it’s a gorgeous design and a simple plan — and DSC helps us understand more and more the DNA of a Science company.
* Disclosure: Aydin Senkut of Felicis Ventures is an investor in VentureBeat.