Leila Janah, CEO and founder of AI startup Samasource, passes away at 37
Leila Janah, the founder and CEO of machine learning training data startup Samasource, passed away at the age of 37 due to complications from Epithelioid Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, according to a statement from the company.
She focused her career on social and ethical entrepreneurship with the goal of ending global poverty, founding three distinct organizations over her career spanning the for-profit and non-profit worlds. She was most well-known for Samasource, which was founded a little more than a decade ago to help machine learning specialists develop better ML models through more complete and ethical training data-sets.
Leila founded Samasource in 2008. Samasource provides machine learning training data for 25% of the Fortune 50. From self-driving cars to smart hardware, Samasource fuels AI. Founded over a decade ago, we’re experts in image, video and sensor data annotation and validation for machine learning algorithms. We support AI development in consumer internet, e-commerce, smart hardware, AR/VR, biomedical, and automotive. Driven by a mission to expand opportunity for low-income people through the digital economy, our social business model has helped over 50,000 people lift themselves out of poverty.
Below is the entire message from the company.
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.
Leila spearheaded a global impact sourcing movement and was a champion for environmental sustainability and ending global poverty. She 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.
Her commitment to creating a better world was unparalleled. The ripple effects of her work will be felt for generations.
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.
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.
We will miss Leila’s infectious laugh, her tenacious spirit, and her ability to inspire all she encountered to be a force for good in the world. Our deepest sympathies extend to Leila’s husband, Tassilo, her stepdaughter, her family, and her friends.
The Sama Family