Digital data services company iMerit to open New Orleans office, eventually hire 100 people


iMerit, a digital data services company with operations in California and India, plans to open its first U.S. delivery center in downtown New Orleans and eventually hire 100 people, officials said Tuesday.

iMerit’s more than 1,300 employees help companies work with data and power nascent technology, like helping driverless cars understand their environment, advancing cancer cell research, improving crop-yield through the analysis of geospatial data and delivering on-demand financial information.

iMerit’s team is bilingual in Spanish and English, and will work with companies with language-processing needs as well as U.S.-based customer service.

The company said it is seeing “a surge in demand” for U.S.-based resources in defense, insurance, health care, government and technology sectors.

The New Orleans team will be skilled in a variety of data services that help train machine-learning algorithms, the company said.

iMerit founder and CEO Radha Basu said the company’s nascent technologies “rely heavily on humans to create the nuanced data that fuels the algorithms.”

“We operate where people are eager to develop digital skills and to transform their lives and those of their families,” Basu said. “New Orleans has huge potential as a multilingual and multicultural hub with strong local backing for business.”

Perhaps most appealing for local economic development officials: iMerit plans to focus on filling jobs by providing training and hiring underserved members of the community who otherwise may not find work in the digital economy.

Already, iMerit has hired 15 workers in New Orleans and plans to hire more as business picks up.

“The decision for iMerit to select New Orleans for a key part of their operations is significant on many levels,” said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of GNO Inc., a regional economic development group.

Hecht called iMerit’s natural language processing work “cutting-edge,” and said the company’s work “will have a significant impact on lives around the globe for decades to come.“

Backed by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Omidyar Network and Khosla Impact, iMerit was founded as a for-profit social enterprise to help build the digital livelihoods of the future while promoting positive social and economic change.

The company’s data work has been used in conjunction with autonomous vehicles, medical research, natural language recognition, e-commerce and financial inclusion.

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