Samasource, a Nairobi and San Francisco-based AI training provider, has lost its founder and CEO Leila Janah, to a rare form of cancer.
“We are deeply saddened to announce that Leila Janah, Samasource Founder and CEO, passed away last night due to complications from Epithelioid Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. She was 37 years old,” Samasource announced in a statement.
Leila was the founder and CEO of three organizations, all with a common mission to “Give Work” – Samasource, a global for-profit technology leader in training data for AI; LXMI, a fair-trade, organic skin care company; and Samaschool, a non-profit focused on reskilling for the new economy.
“We are all committed to continuing Leila’s work, and to ensuring her legacy and vision is carried out for years to come. To accomplish this, Wendy Gonzalez, longtime business partner and friend to Leila, will take the helm as interim CEO of Samasource. Previously the organization’s COO, Wendy has spent the past five years working alongside Leila to craft Samasource’s vision and strategy,” the company announced.
Samaschool will continue to serve those gaining skills for the new economy, and LXMI will continue to operate and provide meaningful, dignified work to women in East Africa.
Recently, Samasource raised $14.8M million Series A funding round to scale its engineering, sales and marketing efforts.
The firm also opened an AI Development Center in Montreal, Canada and a delivery center in Kampala, Uganda adding to it’s operations in San Francisco, New York City, the Hague, Gulu, and Nairobi.
Samasource, which employs more than 2,900 people, said it will use the funding to further establish itself as a pioneer in the field of AI and training data and continue to deliver secure, high-quality training data to its Fortune 50 companies such as Microsoft, Walmart, Continental.
Samsource also partnered with Facebook to launch a new content review centre in Nairobi, Kenya, making it Facebook’s first content review centre in Sub-Saharan Africa. The center employs approximately 100 reviewers supporting a number of languages, including Somali, Oromo, Swahili and Hausa.
Earlier, Google had granted, $2 million to Samasource to work youth and women in Haiti, India, Kenya and Uganda.