The successful entrepreneur and businessman was inspired.
Loyola Marymount University's M-School advisory board was gathered in the Von Der Ahe Building to hear a proposal for a course project and competition titled "Marketing for Good." Michael Dubin, the founder and CEO of the successful Silicon Beach-based Dollar Shave Club, was sitting in the front row, saw the possibilities, and wanted to be involved.
The "Marketing for Good" project is part of an M-School course involving 24 students, six groups and 15 weeks of work. Students are expected to come up with an idea, pitch that idea to a panel of industry experts, and then make that idea a reality.
Dubin offered to host a pitch event for the M-School students. Think "Shark Tank," but call it "Lion's Den," an idea accelerator that encourages bigger and quicker projects that are socially conscious – and at the same time puts LMU students in touch with professionals and mentors in nearby Silicon Beach.
The event on Oct. 17 at the Dollar Shave Club offices in Marina del Rey brought out the best in the students as they presented their ideas to a panel of Dollar Shave Club employees. "The panel was amazing," said Matthew Stefl, clinical professor of marketing and co-director of the M-School. "It represented so many different parts of business, from production to marketing to distribution to data science. They brought so many perspectives to the students' projects."
Andy Rohm, professor of marketing and business law and co-director of the M-School, said, "We've never had a mid-semester event like this, where the students had to make [their ideas] clear and present them... halfway through the semester." Rohm added that this event gave the students momentum for the second half of the semester.
"I was really impressed with the ideas," said Hayden Mills, operations manager of the Dollar Shave Club and a panelist.
The six projects covered water conservation; enhancing creativity; cycling as a transportation alternative; positive gossip; responsible drinking; and food efficiency. The food efficiency project, named Bruised Bananas, was deemed the winner by the panel. Their project centered on putting food that would ordinarily be wasted to good use.
The projects will surely benefit from the feedback and support of the Dollar Shave Club panel.
The students were busy the rest of the semester putting their ideas into action, and preparing for their final Pitch Event presentations that were held in December.