Samasource has raised $14.8 million in its first round of funding, led by Ridge Ventures. Ridge venture principal Ben Metcalfe confirmed the investment, citing that he will take a board sit in the startup.
“Samasource is a rare instance when an investor can make a difference in more than just the balance sheet. It’s the type of symmetry a VC craves, and relevant considering Sama means ‘equal’ in Sanskrit.” Metcalfe continued.
The AI training data provider will use the funds to scale its engineering and marketing operations and advance its technology. Samasource uses talent, mostly in East Africa, to provide Fortune 100 companies with inputs for machine learning.
Besides advancing its tech, the firm plans to scale its staff as well as upgrade its platform. The company has used part of the series A funding to increase its Ugandan franchise to 90 people.
Additionally, Samasource CEO Leila Janah plans to grow Kampala’s staff by 150% in 2020. Currently, Samasource has a staff base of 2,900 distributed in offices in Kenya, Uganda, San Francisco, New York, and The Hague.
Finally, the company used this investment to open an AI development centre in Montreal, Canada. The company has also expanded its digital delivery centre in Kampala, eyeing a corporate customer base.
Globally, the company generates income from its machine learning data annotation and validation services. The company, which started as a non-profit in 2008 has worked with clients such as Google, Walmart, IBM and Ford. The company later converted to for-profit status in 2019, looking to tap into East African Talent in tech.