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The guy who went from intern to COO of Salesforce launched a startup backed by Marc Benioff

What are the chances of going from an intern to COO of a $50 billion company, and then getting to launch your own startup — with the financial backing of a billionaire CEO who hired you in the first place?

Welcome to the life of George Hu, the former Salesforce COO who made his startup called Peer public for the first time on Thursday.

“I don’t know if I’m Salesforce’s very first intern,” Hu told Business Insider. “But I hope I’m the most successful one.”

BLOCKCHAIN DREAM TEAM: 5 more banks just signed up
Posted November 19, 2015 0:54 AM
BLOCKCHAIN DREAM TEAM: 5 more banks just signed up

The investment banking world's infatuation with blockchain — the technology made famous by bitcoin — continues.

5 more banks have signed up the industry-wide group looking at how to use the technology in mainstream banking. They are: BNP Paribas, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, ING Bank, Macquarie Bank, and Wells Fargo & Co.

That takes the total number of banks now backing the R3 initiative to 30. R3 is a startup in its own right, headed by a former Wall Street veteran, but it has done a hell of a job bringing all the rival banks together.

R3's CEO David Rutter told us the plan is to build the "fabric" of blockchain technology for banking and build out some use cases.

Marissa Mayer explained how ‘Larry and Sergey dollars’ created a black market for hiring at Google (GOOG)

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer offered some insights into how Google kept its scale from going overboard in the early days — and it involved currency and a black market.

In an interview published from Chris McCann’s class notes at Stanford on Medium, Mayer explained to Chris Yeh, an employee at Wasabi Ventures, that after starting her career with Google in 1999, things changed once Eric Schmidt joined the team. He shot down Google’s plan to double its size from 200 people to 400 at the time, convinced they couldn’t “keep [their] quality and culture at [their] high bar” by doing so.

Scientists may soon be able to 'cut and paste' DNA to cure deadly diseases and design perfect babies

On a warm September afternoon on the verdant campus of Long Island's Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, an elite cadre of scientists gathered to discuss a simple yet incredibly powerful new genetic technology.

Jennifer Doudna was dressed casually in a blazer and jeans, with a scarf tossed gently around her neck to compliment a loose bob of blonde hair. Raised in Hilo, Hawaii, she retains a hint of the friendly islander vibe, even though she's been recently thrust into the scientific spotlight.

A biochemist at the University of California, Berkeley, Doudna is widely credited as one of the pioneers of a genetic technology that lets scientists tweak the DNA of practically any living creature.

Known as CRISPR/Cas9, the technique has been credited with the potential to cure genetic defects, eradicate diseases, and even end the organ transplant shortage.

This profitable startup worth more than $100 million just entered the war over streaming music

There’s an unlikely new entrant into the music streaming wars: WeTransfer, a Dutch file-sharing service valued at more than $100 million.

WeTransfer plans to release a new music player and to gun for exclusive tracks from big-name artists, according to Bloomberg. The company has previously worked with musicians like Prince and Disclosure.

WeTransfer was built in Europe on the concept of simplicity, but has been recently gaining traction in the US. The service allows you to send files of up to 2GB for free, and has 35 million monthly unique users globally.

Starbucks is conquering a huge challenge in retail — and even Apple and Chipotle should be jealous

Starbucks is pretty confident about the success of its mobile business. But, when everyone from Dunkin’ Donuts to Apple is jealous, you have the right to brag.

“I guarantee in the US there is no one else even close, as far as the number of mobile payments,” Starbucks CFO Scott Maw said on Wednesday at the Morgan Stanley Global Consumer and Retail Brokers Conference.

According to Maw, 21% of Starbucks transactions in the US are made using mobile devices.

Starbucks’ mobile strategy is part of an interlocking “digital ecosystem” that links Starbucks Cards, mobile apps, and, increasingly, partnerships with other companies.

THE MOBILE DISTRIBUTION REPORT: Why social platforms and mobile apps are essential for delivering publisher content to readers

Mobile devices have become the go-to platform for consuming digital media. In June, mobile accounted for two out of every three minutes spent consuming digital media in the US, according to ComScore data. As readers spend more time consuming media on mobile devices and less time reading on newspapers, magazines, and desktop computers, publishers must adapt their distribution strategies to align with the mobile shift. 

Here's what Square's early investors raked in from its IPO

Digital payments startup Square priced its initial public offering at $9 per share on Wednesday night and started trading on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday morning. Shares opened at $11.20 and spiked by as much as 60% soon after.

The IPO is good news for Square's investors, especially those who bought in in early funding rounds.

The folks at EquityZen, a marketplace for investors looking to buy shares from startup employees, have been tracking how all of Square's early investors have fared.

They collected data on all the investors in Square's funding rounds, based on SEC filings, and put it together in a graphic based on the $9 IPO share price.

Spotify just announced a generous new parental leave plan for all its full-time employees

Spotify just announced that it will offer a full six months of paid parental leave to all full-time employees (maternity or paternity).

Parents will be able to take the leave at one time, or spread it out in three sections over three years. The leave is 100% paid and parents can take the leave up until a child's third birthday.

"I think we can be a role model," Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said. Spotify joins many tech companies with generous parental leave policies, like fellow streaming service Netflix, which offers "unlimited" leave during the child's first year of life.

Spotify pointed to the place where it was founded, Sweden, as influencing this decision.

How former Apple CEO John Sculley helped turn Silicon Valley startup Misfit into a $260 million company (AAPL)

Getting going in your early days as a tech startup is no mean feat so it helps when you've got a well-known figure among your cofounders.

Misfit, a wearable technology company that makes activity tracking devices, was acquired by fashion retailer and watchmaker Fossil last week for $260 million (£171 million)

Former Apple CEO John Sculley publicly backed the company since it first started.

Sculley cofounded Misfit in San Francisco back in 2011 with Sonny Vu and Sridhar Iyengar. Now, one of the companys' executives says that Sculley was key to the company's growth.