Just five years ago Tristan Walker was an entrepreneur just looking to figure out a solution to help men and their ever-present razor bump issues when he started Bevel, a men’s grooming service catered towards men of color.
Now he’s sold his health and beauty startup Walker & Company Brands to Procter & Gamble for an undisclosed amount, and plans to move his company to Atlanta and continues to lead it as CEO Fast Company reports.
This is a major bid for Walker to merge with the consumer-packaged goods company Proctor & Gamble, which is known for its household must-haves like Tide and Charmin.
Walker and his 15 employees will move to Atlanta and not Cincinnati which is P&G’s home base – and he will continue working on its brands, Bevel and Form, as a wholly owned subsidiary while reporting directly to Alex Keith, president of P&G’s global hair care and beauty business.
“We’ve always had the vision to make health and beauty simple for people of color,” Walker says. “But now we get to accelerate that vision with the many capabilities Procter & Gamble has to offer. I’m not going anywhere. We’re not going anywhere.”
Walker first enabled a mobile social application, Foursquare, to completely transform location-based marketing back in 2009. By generating major corporate and media sponsorships with Starbucks, MTV, New York Times and NBA, Walker and his business development team brought attention to and incentivized the use of the popular app.
He also became a name in Silicon Valley and cofounded Code2040, a not-for-profit that connects young minorities to coding jobs.
Walker went on to develop his direct to consumer brand Bevel. To execute his vision Walker needed to raise a certain amount of capital. Due to his reputation in Silicon Valley and business savvy, he raised the proper funds from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, WME partner Charles King, and rap legend Nas, who immediately understood Tristan’s vision.
“Yes, we happen to be in Silicon Valley and, yes, we happen to do things from a technology perspective to help us accelerate our vision, but we’ve always been a forward-looking consumer packaged goods company,” says Walker. “Our moving from Silicon Valley doesn’t change that.”
And P&G is eager to see what Walker’s brand will bring.
“[When it comes to] direct-to-consumer, we have the capabilities here, but nowhere near the extent he’s mastered and leveraged,” Lela Coffey, brand director for multicultural marketing at P&G, says of Walker. “His agility is super-fast. The amount of products he’s been able to bring to market, we need to learn something about that speed.”
Walker’s relationships with superstars are what’s bringing him to “the Black mecca” otherwise known as Atlanta.
“Having him in a place where the trends are being set, where the thought leaders are, where he can recruit some great talent, I think you couldn’t ask for a much better spot than Atlanta,” says Coffey, who also sees the move as part of an ongoing initiative for P&G to attract younger and more diverse employees.
“While I am thankful for what Silicon Valley has afforded me, this is the right move for the company, and on behalf of the people that we serve,” he says. “This is not about me.”