Can one viral video lead you to a billion dollars? That’s what has happened to startup entrepreneur, Michael Dubin, who just sold his company, dollarshaveclub.com, to Unilever today for $1 billion. It was 4 years ago that Michael was struggling with his new startup. The idea was simple – to sell razors online for a dollar a month (an idea he came up with at a party with his partner, Mark Levine). So they threw their life savings into the idea, and worked for 2 years to try and get things going, but by 2012 things hadn’t taken off and he wasn’t having any success raising the funding he needed to get shipments started. The answer? To release this video – starring Michael – that told the story of dollarshaveclub.com in less than 2 minutes.
Mark says “We didn’t have a lot of money so I asked a friend from my improv days to direct it. I wrote and acted in it. With that kind of budget we had to find an inexpensive way to market it. Releasing the video on YouTube made the most sense.” The video went viral on Youtube, with millions of views and 12,000 subscribers in its first 2 days. It has gone on to have over 22 million views, and Michael’s business took off. That one video – which cost $4,500 to make – led to a group of VCs investing $1 million one month later, in March 2012.
The momentum continued, with a further $9.8m in 2013, $12m in 2014, $50m in 2015 and $90.7m in 2015. Then, yesterday, Unilever announced they were buying Michael’s company for $1 billion. Of that first video, Michael says: “If you look at the video, we are communicating the whole time the product and service benefits. We’re talking about product and pricing. We’re talking about convenience. Yes, there’s a couple of jokes that don’t talk about the business there, but our goal with creating the video was to teach people about our business. And give them a laugh at the same time.” How could you express the problem you solve, the promise you make, and the product you deliver in less than 2 minutes? Maybe it won’t be worth $1 billion. But if you have as much fun making a video on it as Michael did, it’s already worth it. Watch the video at http://www.dollarshaveclub.com Ready with your own pitch? Join Startup Battle, the global pitch contest giving $100,000 in prizes for the best startup pitches at http://www.startupbattle.org