The chance to apply years of work in data automation initially drew Meagan Palmer to help Kurtosys open up shop in Raleigh.

Also alluring was the chance to swim with sharks when she visits her colleagues at its Cape Town, South Africa offices.

Palmer spent three years at Automated Insights during its fast build-up and exit, leaving to join the 15-year-old FinTech data and digital marketing innovator from London a year ago. The venture-backed company had grown its book of business with U.S.-based asset managers out of a sales office in New York, and the plan was to add an implementation and client services team in Raleigh or Silicon Valley, where engineering and data science talent was richer, Palmer says.

Kurtosys’s COO/CFO in New York had a preference for the Triangle—he’s a Duke University grad. A deeper dive cemented the decision.

“They found the talent here was just as good and salary expectations were more reasonable,” Palmer says. “And the startup community was just as great.”

Palmer says the work at Kurtosys is so fascinating because it combines out of the box software with customization on behalf of each client. When Kurtosys is done, clients of JP Morgan Chase’s asset management group, for example, have an interactive way to view and manipulate data online.

There’s also a lot of complexity because the company works in the highly regulated financial services industry—that makes the data work extra compelling.

Palmer initially served as head of production but now leads project management globally for the 170-person company. She’s also helping build a 20-person team in Raleigh by this time next year. Over time, Raleigh and Cape Town will become the company’s headquarters, she says.

Palmer has quietly hired seven people so far (pictured above), opening its office on Glenwood Avenue just this week. The company will officially come out of hiding at Big Top, the reverse job fair and networking event we’re hosting at The Frontier on August 29.

If you’re wondering what Kurtosys means, it’s not a disease. It has a data meaning, Palmer says, “The rate at which the peaks in a graph rise and fall.”