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Guernsey fund a backer in $1bn razor business acquired by Unilever

28 July 2016

Unilever's US$1 billion purchase of Dollar Shave Club, a four-year-old start-up company that sells razors and other personal products for men online, has netted a substantial return for the investors in a Guernsey-domiciled investment fund.

White Star Capital, a transatlantic venture capital group, was an original seed investor in Dollar Shave Club back in late 2011 through Science, the venture capital incubation platform.

The Unilever deal should result in the distribution of close to US$60 million to Science and its shareholders, including the White Star Capital fund, and a direct return on investment of 11 times the capital invested by the Guernsey fund during a period of just over two years.

Eric Martineau-Fortin, co-founder and Managing Partner of White Star Capital, said the success of Dollar Shave Club was a great story.

"As a participant in the initial financing rounds of Science and this US start-up that emerged from it in 2011, we are proud to have believed in the Dollar Shave Club e-commerce model and its founder, Michael Dubin," said Mr Martineau-Fortin.

"Our financial support for this type of accelerator structure, our operational expertise and our in-depth knowledge of Canadian and European markets all contributed to this phenomenal success in its seed phase."

Dollar Shave Club upended the razor industry's traditional business model by offering a subscription service that sells blades for as little as US$3 a month (including shipping and handling). The day Dollar Shave Club started selling subscriptions in March 2012, the company released a quirky YouTube video starring founder Michael Dubin. Within six hours of the initial launch all blades had sold out, while the YouTube video has gone on to be viewed more than 23 million times.

The White Star Capital fund is primarily backed by sovereign and institutional funds supported by entrepreneurs and family offices from more than 20 countries. The fund's other investments include companies such as food tech Freshly or robotic locksmith KeyMe in New York, IoT predictive analytics firm mnubo in Montreal and financial exchange Cryex in Stockholm.

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