When Tristan Walker was growing up in Queens, he decided he wanted to get “as wealthy as possible as quickly as possible.” That eventually led him to Silicon Valley, where he attended Stanford and spent time at Twitter and venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Then he did business development at Foursquare.
Now Walker runs his own company, Walker & Company Brands, the creator of Bevel, a line of health and beauty products for African American consumers with course and curly hair—the kind of people, he says, who have had to hunt for products which fit their needs “in aisle 17, the ethnic aisle—but it’s not really an aisle, it’s a shelf.” He says that the products are about education and service; after getting $9 million in funding and launching earlier this year, they’re growing at 50 percent a month.
As an African American in the Valley, Walker stands out. In order to help bring about the day when that’s no longer true, he’s started Code2040, an organization devoted to breaking down barriers and helping black and latino engineers get a start in the tech industry. And as Walker & Co. has hired, he’s aimed to make it a company whose employees look like America. “I’m not an idiot,” he said. “This diversity actually helps the bottom line.”Read J.J. McCorvey's feature on Walker this issue of Fast Company: "Tristan Walker: The Visible Man"