How Dollar Shave Club Earned Its $1 Billion Price Tag

You could almost hear the collective cheers from startup land when the news broke that Unilever was buying the five-year-old Dollar Shave Club for $1 billion. The Dollar Shave Club acquisition was an affirmation of a type of company-building that can be seen in everything from Airbnb to Warby Parker and Casper.┬áThese are companies driven by technology, with products and services sold directly to consumers for the most part, although online mattress company Casper recently did a deal with West Elm. So let’s break down what Dollar Shave Club has that Unilever couldn’t build it itself–those things that every big incumbent is willing to pay for.┬áThe obvious reason to buy any company is for growth. Dollar Shave Club did $152 million in sales in 2015 and was set to exceed $200 million this year according to Unilever. In other words, Unilever paid about 5X sales for the company. So beyond gross revenue, what is Dollar Shave Club doing that made it so valuable and that every company can learn from?

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