32 Year Old Tristan Walker Founded One of Silicon Valley’s Hottest Startups: How’d he do It?

Tristan Walker is a 32 year old African-American who founded one of the hottest startups to come out of Silicon Valley. Let’s take a look at his path to launching a successful health and beauty empire.

Tristan grew up in Queens, NY graduated from The State University of New York at Stony Brook in 2005. After a few years working as an Energy Trader first for Lehman Brothers then J.P. Morgan, he enrolled in Stanford’s Graduate School of Business where he graduated in 2010.

It was in grad school at the age of 24 where his eyes were opened to another world of possibilities.

“I was 24 and I said, ‘Damn, there are other 24-year-olds not only making millions of dollars, but fundamentally changing the world. I need to be a part of this.’”

While in grad school he interned with Twitter and the Boston Consulting Group in 2009. Upon graduating, Tristan landed a gig with the then hot startup Foursquare as Director of Business Development from 2009-2012. In 2012 he co-founded Code2040, an org that helps gifted minority undergraduate students find internships at the top technology companies. He learned the venture capital game by spending a year working at Andreesen Horowitz (2012-2013) as “Entrepreneur In Residence.” In 2013 Tristan stepped out on his own and launched Walker & Co. the firm that created the hugely successful Bevel brand.

Walker & Co. has raised over $33 million from investors such as his former employer Andreesen Horowitz and rapper Nas’ VC firm Queenbridge Venture. In three years Walker & Co. has successfully established its Bevel branded products which include a specially designed shaving system geared toward men of color. The company has developed strategic partnerships with Target and Amazon and has increased total sales by 5% per week since February of 2016! In 2017 Walker & Co. are planning to launch a brand geared towards women.

The Takeaways

  1. Education Is Key
  2. Work Hard
  3. Don’t Be Afraid To Fail

Education is key! It opened up a tremendous amount of opportunities for Tristan. His undergrad degree lead to a job on Wall Street, which lead to attending grad school in Silicon Valley, which lead to working at a venture capital firm that ultimately financed his startup. He took calculated risks which lead to the launch of Walker & Co. and it paid off. The rest as they say is history.