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Alumni Spotlight: Will Newton '07

Germantown Academy alum Will Newton '07 is changing the timeless barbershop industry with Shortcut, his red-hot app which he co-founded back in 2014. Simply said, Shortcut serves as a hair care marketplace that connects people and businesses to the best local barbers and hair stylists at anytime or anywhere.

"Our mission in creating an on-demand marketplace is to give barbers the freedom to do what they love and earn what they deserve," said Newton in a June 22, 2017 article in Forbes Magazine.

Similar to apps like Lyft or Uber, Shortcut will send a barber to your home or office at the push of a button.

The app also benefits barbers by providing a digital marketplace and suite of tools to independently manage their mobile enterprises. It also allows barbers to earn more than they would in a brick-and-mortar barbershop where they rent their seat or are underemployed.

"Barbers can set their own price, set their own schedule, onboard clients and take 90 percent of the commission — the byproduct is convenience for customers," Newton told Forbes.

The big ah-ha moment for Newton and his fellow co-founder Irvin Slobodskaya came when the GA and Tulane University graduate had his shoes shined, but lamented the fact that he had to pass through an airport terminal or train station to receive such a service. Slobodskaya suggested he start an app, but the profit margins were too small. Then Slobodskay suggested an app that allows anyone to request an in-home haircut and thus Shortcut was born.

Since launching, Shortcut has partnered with entertainer and entrepreneur Quincy Brown and celebrity barber Curtis Smith. The start-up has also hosted events with Trunk Club and Barneys New York and its barbers carry Baxter of California pomade.

"We respect the culture and tradition of barbershops," Newton told Forbes. "We understand what they mean to people and their communities, so we don't want to eliminate the industry — we want to make it easier for barbers to do what they love and earn what they want doing it."