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In an effort to expand and diversify its portfolio, Procter & Gamble yesterday acquired Walker & Company Brands, described as a five-year old startup “making health and beauty products for people of color.” The brands for which is known include Bevel, a men’s shaving brand, and Form, a women’s hair care brand.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Founder/CEO Tristan Walker, who used to run business development for Foursquare, will remain with the company, which will relocated from Palo Alto, California, to Atlanta, Georgia, as part of the deal.

The New York Times has an interview with Walker in this coming Sunday’s “Corner Office” column, in which he talks about his impetus for starting the company and how consumer product companies are different from technology companies:

“I don’t think there’s much difference. Instead of selling bits, I’m selling physical products. The need here was really the fact that I could not shave. Why are there no products that really understood the fact that I have curly hair? The shaving products that exist cut the hair beneath my skin, and that hair grows into my skin, leading to some irritation issues. That’s just a really simple insight.

“I’ve also been frustrated for years about having to walk down what’s called an ‘ethnic beauty aisle,’ which is always next to the beauty aisle. There’s not a great assortment of products. The products are usually dirty. There’s a photo on it of some 65-year-old bald black dude in a towel drinking a Cognac, petting a tiger, and it’s absolutely ridiculous.

“People of color spend more money on this stuff than anyone else. So I said, ‘I’m going to respect those things before anybody else does, and really create a long-term view around celebrating this beautiful community and culture’.”
KC's View:
That’s what innovation looks like.

The question that I think more companies need to ask themselves is why they need to acquire this kind of insight as opposed to growing it organically.