James F. Kenefick is a New York entrepreneur focused on supporting and leveraging technological advancements for the betterment of his businesses and communities. Over the course of 25 years, James has shown a close understanding of the workings and uses of technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, health & wellness, cognitive science, mobile enterprise software, and more. These technologies are becoming more and more integrated with our day-to-day activities, helping us lead happier and healthier lives.
James grew up in Vermont. His father was an aerospace engineer who encouraged him to pursue his own interests, while also inspiring a love of technology and learning. James was a ravenous reader from a young age, and learned everything he could. By the age of 7, he was an amateur radio technician, and had a developing love of electronics and learning.
James F. Kenefick’s innate love of learning has served him very well over the years. His undergraduate career at Babson College provided a foundation of knowledge and passion with which he developed his career. His time here was a rich experience, involving coursework, sports, and leadership experience with the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He earned a dual Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Entrepreneurial Studies.
After completing his undergraduate studies, James F. Kenefick pursued a graduate course in Japanese culture and management, which then allowed him to serve at the EMC Corporation — now Dell EMC — while it was a private company. His experience with EMC provided him stellar experience in the technology industry, especially in regards to start-ups and rapidly expanding and transitioning companies.
Experience & Expertise
Finishing his tenure with EMC, he was accepted to the Entrepreneurial Masters Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). While in this program, he also became a member of the Young Entrepreneurs’ Organization — now simply the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. With this group, he served as both chapter chair in Washington DC, as well as chair of the Board of Directors.
As an entrepreneur, this time was profound, helping build his insight, skills, and understanding of what it takes to achieve success. In particular, he learned the value of a strong network, the importance of remaining adaptable, and the ability to work with emerging technologies.
After finishing his first round of continued education programs, James F Kenefick was in a position of experience and youth, uniquely poised to apply this knowledge and insight towards his endeavors.
His subsequent endeavors range from management to investment, across 10 companies with more than $750 million in value. As a management professional, he has been responsible for oversight of more than 1,000 employees over the course of his career. He co-led 3 companies from the start-up phase through to the $15, $30, and $100 million value milestones within a ten-year period. In this time he was a two time finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award; as well as the recipient of multiple Inc. 500 / Inc. 5,000 awards.
Another personal and professional focus for James over his career has been health, wellness and spirituality. He was interim CEO at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and transitioned the organization to an on-line learning / education platform, and as Chairman at Wound Care Strategies he transitioned the organization’s consulting focus to an online SAAS provider of Hospital Systems with a subsequent successful exit. For almost 20 years, James has practiced Bikram Yoga, attended numerous meditation / yoga / wellness workshops at Esalen Institute, Omega Institute, Blue Spirit Costa Rica, and the Hoffman Institute, as well as several spiritual retreats in South America.
Today, James F. Kenefick is the Managing Partner of Azafran Capital Partners, a venture capital firm that focuses on early stage, emerging companies using deep science and technology serving the health and wellness market. James has always lived alongside technology and is excited to see the emerging ways that it is being used to improve the lives of people it serves. His experience and love of technology grant him a background of knowledge which leads him to believe that the future of health and wellness will be informed by these companies, especially those working with artificial intelligence and machine learning.
James founded Azafran Capital Partners in 2017, and as a managing partner, he has a particular focus upon strategic execution, capital formation, developing a healthy corporate culture, and ensuring the leaders within the group will grow with the firm itself.
As an entrepreneur, James F. Kenefick uses a scientific approach. He doesn’t assume he understands everything. He is careful not to make too many assumptions about the marketplace. But as a scientist, he understands how to apply his knowledge in the best ways possible, and ensure a valuable outcome.
Looking forward, he sees immense potential in health and wellness technology, spurred forwards by our natural desire to live our best lives. As an entrepreneur, he understands the importance of striking while the iron is hot, and being on the forefront of these technologies. As a lifelong learner and lover of science, James is excited at the new possibilities unfolding every day.
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