Leila Janah, an entrepreneur who founded machine learning and AI training nonprofit Samasource, died last week at the age of 37.
“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,” the company said in a statement on Friday. “Her commitment to creating a better world was unparalleled. The ripple effects of her work will be felt for generations.” Janah’s career focused on social entrepreneurship and global poverty, and she founded three organizations over her career spanning the for-profit and nonprofit worlds. In 2008, she launched Samasource to help conditions of call center workers in India. The San Francisco-based organization contracts out with large organizations to provide data service work overseas, something that started out with tasks like online research for sales databases or transcriptions but moved into human training of computer algorithms. Samasource is now distinct for delivering AI-driven services to Fortune 100 companies, with a focus on global data specialists located in East Africa. She was also the author of Give Work: Reversing Poverty One Job at a Time and co-author of America’s Moment: Creating Opportunity in the Connected Age, a book by Rework America: A Markle Initiative.