Tristan Walker aims to change the world—starting with razors

Close shave
Close shave   

Six years ago, tech entrepreneur Tristan Walker left Wall Street for Silicon Valley with a goal in mind.

"I saw that there were other 24 year olds, not only making millions of dollars, but also fundamentally changing the world," the 30-year old told CNBC's On the Money in an interview. "I knew I wanted to be part of that and I tried everything I could to be a part of it."

After graduating from Stanford Business School, Walker started his successful rise through the often insular world of Silicon Valley. After stops at Foursquare and venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz, the New York City native founded his own startup, Walker & Company Brands.

He's launched his company in the tech capital with a new product that, at first glance, seems low-tech and old-fashioned: A new single-blade razor.

Called "Bevel", the razor was designed with a specific benefit for a target audience, those prone to shaving irritation and razor bumps.

"Up to 80 percent of black men and women have this issue because we have course curly hair," Walker said. "And 30 percent of men and women of other races have this issue as well."

'Solving problems' for people of color

Bevel shaving products
Source: Walker and Company Brands

Tristan Walker says he founded his company with the mission of "developing a suite of brands the solve problems for people of color."

He says the Bevel razor is "the first manifestation of that vision." Walker & Company Brands is developing future products to address issues such as Vitamin D deficiency, hyper-pigmentation and natural hair transitioning, he added.

Silicon Valley investors have responded. Walker & Company Brands has raised more than nine million dollars in startup funding. That includes investment from his former employers at Andreessen Horowitz, where he was "Entrepreneur-In-Residence."

Recent headlines have revealed and criticized tech companies in Silicon Valley for not providing access to, or hiring, minorities and women. At his own company, Walker says he is focused on eradicating what he calls "implicit bias."

When he's looking to hire a new employee, Walker asks investors to broaden their search. "Before you think of who can fill this role, think about women or folks of color who would excel." He says that's led to his firm being staffed by a majority of women and people of color.

Positioned in the personal grooming and beauty products market as "a company that solves problems", Walker says he has no plans to seek a buyout or sell the company. Instead, he wants to remain independent.

"It would be my biggest joy to have Walker & Company outlast me," adding that his company is serving the fastest growing demographic in the country.

"Our opportunity is significant, and for us to give up on that…would be a shame."


On the Money airs on CNBC Sundays at 7:30 pm, or check listings for airtimes in local markets.