Blade Runners

She shaved his entire face, all while staring into the distance.

Harry’s bets on data and design

Henry David Thoreau’s brother famously died of lockjaw after cutting himself with his razor in the 1840s. Lockjaw. While the act of shaving has gotten safer in the interim, Henry might have had the right idea – that mountain man look is definitely easier to pull off.

To much fanfare, New York startup Harry’s emerged a few months back as another company offering an alternative to the Gillette-driven razor market where customers are used to absorbing massive R&D costs (recall Gillette’s $750 million development tab for the Mach3 in the 90s).

The business model’s a familiar one, at least to the bespectacled among us: couple high design with a boutique feel, and undercut the pricing of market leaders by selling direct via the web. (Warby Parker co-founder Jeff Raider is a founder of Harry’s.)

What’s at least as eye-catching as the sleek shaving gear and low prices, though, is Harry’s investment in data analytics – not typical of a fledgling consumer goods startup. This includes the pre-launch hiring of Vikram Oberoi, a Stanford alum who was a Data Engineer at Cloudera and Meebo.

“With any data set, there are two things you can do,” Oberoi told us. “You can pull the data and act on the data. [So for us], if we can learn how you shave and when you replenish, we can [create a unique experience] for you.”

Including interns, the Harry’s team already numbers more than 20, and they’re seeking four more, from data engineer to retail experience associate. Check out the jobs here.

Now go forth (and be careful with that thing).

Nitty Gritty:

1845: Year Thoreau set out to Walden Pond, some say driven by the death of his brother

1975: Year Saturday Night Live sketch featured a triple blade razor, with the slogan “The Triple-Trac. Because you’ll believe anything.”

1998: Year the Mach3 became the first triple blade razor on the market



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