Dollar Shave Club: Yeah, We Have Big Investors
BY Tom Foster
CEO Michael Dubin's signature dry humor (and viral marketing video) put his company, Dollar Shave Club, on the radar of some pretty big fish.
Comedy Club: Michael Dubin in his video, which has been viewed 4.7 million times
Michael Dubin's comic marketing video for Dollar Shave Club, which sells razor blades by subscription, has been widely extolled for its, yes, razor wit. The company's investors include Kleiner Perkins and Andreessen Horowitz. As told to Tom Foster.
I'd spent many years working in digital marketing, and I studied comedy on and off for eight years at the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City as a hobby.
I'd spend hours at the theater, just watching and studying. I learned there's an order to things. You have to lead your audience down a path and then give them a sharp left turn and surprise them. It also helps to have a guy in a bear suit.
In the months before we launched the video, I had meetings with potential investors. We had a beta version of the site, and I made it a point to focus my presentation on what we were doing there.
The investors would say, "How are you going to differentiate yourself? I can already buy razors on the Internet." And I was like, "We're going to build a brand--it's going to be very edgy."
"How are you going to do that?"
"Well, we shot this video."
"Can we see it?"
"Eh, it's a rough cut; I'm not sure that's a good idea."
They insisted on seeing the video, and once they did, they wanted to get involved.
TOM FOSTER is an Inc. editor-at-large. His work has also appeared in Popular Science, Fast Company, Details, and Men's Journal, among others. A longtime New Yorker, he is a recent transplant to Austin, Texas. @tomfoster2