Tristan Walker’s Walker & Company is the maker of Bevel shaving products and the Form haircare line.
For the last five years, Tristan Walker has set out to build a health and beauty company that could create a legacy as enduring as that of an industry giant like Procter & Gamble.
On Wednesday morning, Walker’s startup announced that its next chapter will occur inside of that consumer product giant.
P&G has purchased Walker & Company Brands, maker of Bevel men’s grooming products and Form beauty products, and Walker will continue to run it as CEO. With the deal, Walker & Company will move its headquarters from the heart of Silicon Valley in Palo Alto, Calif., to Atlanta, Ga., where the startup’s largest customer base resides, where talent and living costs are more affordable and where Walker wants to raise his family.
The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, but a person familiar with the details told Recode that investors recouped the majority, but not all, of the nearly $40 million they invested in Walker and Company. That means Procter & Gamble paid somewhere between $20 million and $40 million for the startup.
While not a standout financial outcome by venture capital standards, the move looks like it has smart upside for both companies. Walker and Company gets to tap into P&G’s research and development expertise — the company spent $1.9 billion on those efforts in 2017 — as well as its global retail relationships and supply chain efficiencies. It also gets marketing support from a company that spent $7 billion on advertising across all of its brands last year.
In Walker & Company Brands, Procter & Gamble acquires the cachet of an emerging player in healthy and beauty focused on serving the country’s growing multicultural customer base. Last year, P&G rival Unilever acquired Sundial Brands, the maker of personal care products popular among women of color.
For P&G, Bevel adds a line of razors and shaving products meant to eliminate skin problems like razor bumps that disproportionally impact men of color. P&G also owns Gillette, Braun and The Art of Shaving.
And in the Form haircare line, Procter & Gamble gets a product line designed to be “inclusive” and work across a variety of hair types. P&G currently owns mainstream shampoo brands Pantene and Head & Shoulders.
“I never started this company to get wealthy; I started this company to serve,” Walker said in an interview with Recode. “I started this company to realize that vision of making health and beauty simple for people of color. This accelerates that vision.”
Walker founded the startup in 2013, when it unveiled the Bevel shaving brand. Investors included Upfront Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and IVP.
It started with a razor and line of shaving accoutrements sold directly through its website, and later added an electric hair trimmer, which was name-dropped in a 2016 track from rapper and Walker & Company investor Nas. Target sells Bevel products online and in some stores.
Form Beauty launched in 2017 and encourages women to take an online survey to personalize an appropriate combination of hair products for them. The brand’s shampoos and conditioners are sold through Sephora in addition to Formbeauty.com.
For more on the startup’s journey, watch Walker’s interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher at a 2017 Code Commerce event:
Recode – All Go to Source
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