Leila Janah, Social Entrepreneur Who Wanted to End Poverty, Dead at 37


Social entrepreneur Leila Janah has died at the age of 37.

Janah put all her time and energy into creating job opportunities for the world’s poorest communities. She founded Samasource, an artificial intelligence company, which confirmed her death on Jan. 24, 202o. Janah died of complications from epithelioid sarcoma, a rare soft-tissue cancer.

She was born in upstate New York and raised in a suburb of Los Angeles. In 2008, she founded Samasource in Kenya. Her mission was to improve the lives of those living in poverty.

The company employs over 2,900 people in Kenya, Uganda, and India. The company creates data for companies worldwide that need to test multiple artificial intelligence products including self-driving vehicles and smart hardware.

Samasource has helped over 50,000 people pull themselves out of poverty and has become one of the largest employers in East Africa, according to the company’s website. The company stated, “Leila spearheaded a global impact sourcing movement and was a champion for environmental sustainability and ending global poverty.”

In addition to Samasource, Janah was the founder and CEO of LXMI, a fair-trade, organic skincare company, and Samaschool, a non-profit organization that trains people in digital skills.

Before she found Samasource, Janah was a visiting scholar with Stanford University’s Program on Global Justice and Australian National University’s Center for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics.

Samasource released a statement that said, “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.”

Wendy Gonzalez, the company’s chief operating officer will be the interim CEO of Samasource. Gonzalez was a longtime business partner and friend of Janah. She has spent the last five years working “to craft Samasource’s vision and strategy.”

The company stated that Janah was survived by her husband Tassilo and her stepdaughter.

By Jeanette Vietti


CNN: Leila Janah, CEO of Samasource, dies at 37
People: Samasource Founder Leila Janah, Who Worked to End Poverty, Has Died at the Age of 37
NY Daily News: Leila Janah, entrepreneur whose life mission was helping people beat poverty dead at 37

Image Courtesy of PopTech 2010’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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