Billie, a New York-based startup that wants to fight the “pink tax” on goods marketed to women, announced today that it has closed a $6 million seed round. The funding was led by Silverton Partners, with participation from returning investors including Female Founders Fund and Lakehouse Ventures, and will be used to grow Billie’s team and increase inventory.
Launched in November by co-founders Georgina Gooley and Jason Bravman, Billie currently offers subscriptions for razors and other body products like shaving cream, body wash and lotion. The two told TechCrunch in an email that Billie was created because “shaving companies have traditionally been created for men and women have largely been an afterthought in this category.”
While many services and products aimed at women, including clothing, haircuts and essential toiletries, are often more expensive than similar (or even near-identical) goods marketed to men, razors and dry cleaning are “the two worst offenders,” said Gooley and Bravman. The price difference between razors is especially egregious because most use blades made by the same types of machines.
But many women already save money by buying “men’s” razors or using the Dollar Shave Club, the popular low-priced razor subscription service acquired by Unilever in 2016 for a reported $1 billion, so what does Billie offer them?
The startup’s founders say its razors, which were designed specifically for the company, shave larger areas more comfortably then razors designed just for facial hair, but still cost about the same as men’s razor subscriptions. Billie’s blade cartridges have rounded edges to fit in areas like armpits and are encased in shaving soap since shaving cream rinses off too quickly in the shower. There is also more space between each cartridge’s five blades to keep hair and lather from gunking it up. In addition to the Dollar Shave Club, Billie is up against Oui Shave, another women’s shaving product startup. Billie’s founders say one of its main differentiators will be offering much lower prices than its rivals.
In a prepared statement, Silverton Partners general partner Mike Dodd, who is joining Billie’s board, said the startup is “standing in front of a huge untapped market driven by two outstanding founders who have created a brand that speaks perfectly to this opportunity.”