André Antonio Woolery
CEO and FOUNDER
Perseverance and persistence characterize André Antonio Woolery’s pursuit of entrepreneurial success. These traits are best seen in the success of MagnoGrip Inc., his latest business venture. Based in San Francisco, MagnoGrip manufactures magnetic tool-storage gear for professional tradesmen and do-it-yourselfers. Woolery started the company in his dorm while pursuing an M.B.A. at Stanford University, with $1,000 in savings and an idea for a magnetic wristband to hold nails and small tools.
Originally from Jamaica, West Indies, Woolery started out as a software engineer and e-commerce IT specialist at IBM. He excelled, but, not satisfied with simply being one of the company’s many high achievers, he took control of his own destiny. “Early in my childhood, I developed a sense of independence that lead to my being attracted to entrepreneurship,” he says. “There is no limit to how big one’s path can be. I look at taking risks as a challenge.”
Woolery’s first entrepreneurial undertaking was the launch of an information technology staffing company, Websoft Solutions, which hired out programmers to Internet startups. When the dot-com bubble burst and business dried up for Websoft, he acquired and successfully rebranded a Caribbean restaurant in Amityville, N.Y. He established MagnoGrip in 2005 and successfully negotiated distribution deals with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., The Home Depot Inc. and Lowe’s. “What excites me about the business is that I see where we are well positioned to grow. Last year, our growth projection increased drastically,” Woolery says. MagnoGrip also has offices in Shenzhen, China.
In addition to his M.B.A. from Stanford, Woolery holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the City College of New York, from which he graduated summa cum laude. He has donated time and money to his high school in Jamaica and hopes to initiate a program to introduce African-American high-school students to entrepreneurship and money management.
Favorite team: Miami Heat
Favorite book: “The Richest Man in Babylon”
Favorite artist: 50 Cent