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11 successful tech execs who left Silicon Valley to disrupt the marijuana industry

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Entrepreneurs are seeing green when it comes to the legal marijuana industry.

Pot sales could hit $20 billion by 2020, with help from the chief executives, founders, and product gurus abandoning the technology sector for the fast-paced and ever-changing business of selling bud. More entrepreneurs are making the leap than ever.

We rounded up the 11 Silicon Valley players-turned-"ganjapreneurs" worth watching.

SEE ALSO: The best marijuana vaporizer for every type of person

Eric Eslao spent six years as a senior producer working on iTunes marketing at Apple before giving the pot-infused chocolate bar the makeover it desperately needed.

His new company, Défoncé Chocolatier, delivers one of the most beautiful and user-friendly lines of marijuana edibles we've seen. Each bar features a three-dimensional design that divides doses into small increments, making them more approachable for beginners.

"Working at Apple, you're constantly just revving new versions [of products]," Eslao told Business Insider earlier this year. "We want that to be part of the culture at this company. Something might be awesome, but you have to keep on pushing to make it better and better."



Keith McCarty was the fourth employee at Yammer, an enterprise-focused social network that Microsoft bought for $1.2 billion, and founded an on-demand pot delivery service.

These days, medical marijuana patients in nearly 100 California cities can get their bud delivered to their door faster than most Postmates orders. That's in part thanks to Eaze, an on-demand delivery and telemedicine app that's been dubbed the "Uber of weed."

Eaze has raised more than $25 million in funding from 500 Startups, Snoop Dogg, and the Winklevoss brothers of Facebook fame, making it one of the best funded marijuana startups.



A two-year stint on Facebook's risk management team taught Jake Heimark how to build a great product. He's the brains behind Plus, a startup that makes medicated gum.

Heimark wants to take a bite out of the $5.4 billion legal marijuana industry with a marijuana-infused chewing gum. Plus products take effect faster than most edibles because they're absorbed through the lining of the mouth, which might help users avoid uncomfortable highs.

"What I love about this industry is that it is brand-new and growing. It's so exciting and changing every day," Heimark told Business Insider. "I was part of tech, and I've seen what that felt like. I can tell you this feels the same, if not even faster growing."



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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