Unilever is making an investment in the on-demand space, announcing today that it has purchased Dollar Shave Club, reportedly for $1 billion. While specific financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, it’s been said that Dollar Shave Club CEO Michael Dubin will remain in his position.
First reported by Fortune, the deal with Unilever is expected to bring a “unique male grooming perspective” to a company that perhaps longs for a bit of innovation. Dollar Shave Club now counts 3.2 million members. In 2015, it reported a turnover of $152 million, and the company expects to close at $200 million this year.
Launched in March 2012, Dollar Shave Club emerged on the scene with a simple proposition and a viral video on YouTube. The company specializes in providing high-quality razors for just a few dollars a month. Eventually, Dollar Shave Club branched out into other areas, including body wash, skin protection, lip balm, shave butter, and durable wipes. As Dubin once told me, “We want to service the face, ass, and everything in between.”
This acquisition is also a big win for Science, an incubator firm based in Los Angeles and an early investor. So far, Science has scored several exits, including Dollar Shave Club. It played a part in HelloSociety, which was picked up by The New York Times, and also Playhaven, which was bought by RockYou.
“Michael Dubin and his team have built a great brand and category leader in the e-commerce space,” said Technology Crossover Ventures general partner Woody Marshall in a statement to VentureBeat. “We’ve been fortunate to partner with [Dollar Shave Club] for many years and have helped the company grow its network of advisors, experts and staff. We are excited about DSC joining the Unilever family and the opportunities ahead. The deal represents one of the largest e-commerce transaction of all time. We look forward to seeing DSC grow and fulfill their robust roadmap.”
While $1 billion for Dollar Shave Club is impressive, it’s not the highest amount that has been paid for an ecommerce company. The most expensive acquisition in the space went to QVC parent company Liberty, which spent $2.4 billion for discount online seller Zulily in 2015.
Other investors in Dollar Shave Club include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Felicis Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, Airbnb, Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Shasta Ventures, Technology Crossover Ventures, Forerunner Ventures, and Venrock. David Pakman from Venrock shared that this acquisition represents a 10x return on his firm’s investment in Dollar Shave Club.
As a board member, Pakman recounted some of Dollar Shave Clubs’ challenges and successes, including the launch of a creative marketing campaign that enabled the company to rival Gillette and others in the razor business and led them to capture 15 percent of the men’s razor cartridge market share in the U.S. last year.
To date, Dubin’s company has raised more than $163 million in venture funding.
The deal is expected to close sometime in the third quarter.