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Dollar Shave Club just sold for $1 billion to Unilever

That’s a lot of razors.

Image of Dollar Shave Club's CEO, Michael Dubin, from a promotional video next to a sign that says "our blades are f**king great"
Dollar Shave Club CEO Michael Dubin
Dollar Shave Club
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Dollar Shave Club, the men’s grooming startup that sells razor delivery subscriptions to more than three million people, has been acquired by consumer goods giant Unilever, the company just announced.

Unilever paid $1 billion in cash for the Venice, Calif.-based company, according to two people close to the startup. Fortune first reported the size of the deal.

The acquisition marks one of the biggest e-commerce deals in recent years, and is proof that the company’s recipe of standout, irreverent marketing coupled with low prices created a brand with a huge value.

Founded in 2011 by Michael Dubin with the backing of the startup incubator Science, the company was projecting more than $200 million in revenue for 2016. Dollar Shave Club isn’t profitable, but Dubin said at a conference in May the company could get into the black by year’s end.

The company is best known for shipping bundles of razors to customers on a regular basis, but it has added other products such as butt wipes (yes, seriously) and hair-styling products over the past couple of years.

Dubin will continue to run the company, which will operate as a standalone business. He’ll report to a trio of Unilever executives, he told Recode in an interview on Tuesday evening.

The deal, he said, can be traced to an initial dinner he attended with Kees Kruythoff, Unilever’s president of North America, six or seven months ago. Unilever owns personal care brands such as Axe and Dove, in addition to a bevy of household names across other categories. They do not own a razor brand.

The idea at the time was that Kruythoff would potentially take an advisory role with Dollar Shave Club, or Unilever might invest in the startup.

“We weren’t looking to be acquired ... but he did a really great job convincing us of a few things,” Dubin said, including “how ambitious and aggressive and innovative they are” and “the economies of scale they can bring in a lot of different areas.” Translation: Unilever can help the startup get better deals on things like advertising buys and product manufacturing.

“I just built up a trust with this guy,” Dubin added.

The $1 billion price tag didn’t hurt.

Dollar Shave Club was most recently valued at just over $600 million when it raised $75 million last summer. The startup has raised more than $160 million in total, from venture capital investors including Venrock, Forerunner Ventures and Pritzker.

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