Trill A.I., which is developing analysis software for the financial industry, is moving most of its staff  from Durham and California to its new Cary headquarters, leaving only one or two persons in a Silicon Valley office to keep a small presence there, said Trill CEO and co-founder Akash Ganapathi.

In an exclusive interview with WRAL Techwire, Ganapathi said the company only lost one person, but the other San Francisco staffers “Love it here much more than there. Their quality of life is up, everything is more peaceful and maintained. They even think the weather is great. They’re completely thrilled with the move.”

Founded in the summer of 2014, Trill A.I. raised $370,000 in 2017 and $1.27 million in March this year and plans to use the funds to expand its staff of data scientists and invest in further research and development.

Ganapathi said that finding employees savvy in artificial intelligence and machine learning can be a challenge. “It’s a relatively new area, there are a lot of new techniques and most skilled people haven’t been working on this for long,” he said. “Many are fresh out of academia and want to implement research technology. So we knew we had to be in a technology center to have any chance of finding employees.”

North Carolina fit the bill. “There is no question NC has been burgeoning in the tech area for a decade or more.” Leaving Silicon Valley did not dampen the company’s ability to tap a talent pool, he added. “We’re finding equally high-caliber folks on this side of the country.” He added, “They go for high prices.”

Why locate in the Triangle?

The company uses A.I. and machine learning to statistically identify subtle relationships in complex financial and market data, empowering portfolio managers, research analysts and financial advisors to augment their investment process with speed and confidence.

Considering the company’s focus on fintech, a sector Charlotte is better known for than the Triangle, we asked, why Cary rather than Charlotte?

“Charlotte is very much a finance center,” he said, “But it’s more consumer focused on the traditional banking side. We’re more of a technology company rather than a financial company. At core, we need to be near other tech companies for our best development, and this are, you can’t compare it.”

Ganapathi said he and his co-founder Simon Jung were both studying computer science and economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and thought there should be “an intersection there. We saw a gap and felt that if we didn’t do something, someone else would. We have to take this risk now. We wanted to be part of that wave.”

Coming up next for Trill A.I., he said, are two new product lines coming out this year, although he didn’t want to disclose details just yet. Also, “We’re doing a lot of market selling and getting a great amount of customer feedback. There is a higher demand than ever before.”

Are they still in fund-raising mode? “As a startup,” Ganapathi said, “You want to be in fund-raising mode or business development, but not both. We’re putting full effort on the business development side for at least the remainder of 2018 and into 2019.”

He made one last point. “We’re still looking for great talent,” he said.