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Top American Startups to Watch in 2014

The household internet names like Google, Facebook and Twitter weren't born with silver spoons in their catered lunch lines. In fact, each one of them was a tiny, budding startup at one wobbly point. The path to glory wasn't entirely clear, but the long nights spent grinding were enjoyable --- and eventually lucrative.

The household internet names like Google, Facebook and Twitter weren't born with silver spoons in their catered lunch lines. In fact, each one of them was a tiny, budding startup at one wobbly point. The path to glory wasn't entirely clear, but the long nights spent grinding were enjoyable --- and eventually lucrative.

So which American startups might be in that same rocky, yet promising boat today? This is not to say these CEOs are guaranteed to be sipping boat drinks with Barack Obama one day, but they are worth keeping an eye on over the next 12 months.

1) Venmo. Every knows PayPal but everyone also knows about all the red tape needed to get set up on PayPal. Not a problem with Venmo. Owe your friend a few a bucks for a burger he bought you the other night when you didn't have any cash? No problem just send the money over with this app, in a matter of seconds. It also takes barely a minute to set up.

2) Coursera. EdTech is all the rage in America, and dozens of startups have laid claim to the future of education. Coursera is especially attractive because it's so simple. Want a certificate in HTML from Harvard? Sure, they don't offer the course on the Cambridge campus, but thanks to Coursera -- and the cooperation of top universities -- now you can take the course online and get the top brand certification.

3) Crushpath. Almost everything's gone mobile but one of the few industries that has struggled to get a foothold on smartphones is small business marketing. Currently, businesses are somewhat tied to their desktops when it comes to spreading the word throughout the day. Crushpath is changing that with something of a Instagram for businesses; content can now be created on the fly and shared across email, text and social networks -- all from a click of a single button.

4) CoverHound. Though quite popular in the UK, with sites like MoneySuperMarket and Confused.com, comparison shopping for insurance in the States is actually a legislative mess. CoverHound has done an admirable job of going around to each carrier and gaining consent to sell their policies. By the end of 2014 the offering should almost be complete, giving American drivers the best shopping experience for insurance.

5) Crittercism. We all love our apps, but they're usually awesome because the company behind them has tremendous resources. The reality is that the large majority of existing apps are apps you've never heard of -- and some of them are, despite the blessing of the notoriously-stingy App Store approval process. Crittercism saves these app developers from the money and emotional losses resulting from bad app store reviews by providing a feedback loop between users and app developers that remains private.

6) Linfield Media. Online coupons make consumers happy. And, as a result, more and more consumers are searching for those codes online. Linfield Media has disrupted the affiliate model by helping ecommerce sites navigate the murky waters of voucher codes and the affiliates who host them.. Linfield's flagship site, PromoCodesForYou.com, has grown to 500,000+ monthly users and will drive over $100M in revenue to ecommerce sites this year. The sky's the limit in 2014.

7) Grovo. Most of us cringe upon hearing the word "training" but New York City-based Grovo is poised to change that perception drastically. The company's platform trains users on top Internet tools and cloud services with 60-second, personalized videos. Look for the company to add thousands more videos and dozens of more partners in 2014, so that some day soon your employees might actually looking forward to getting extra training.

8. Three Babes Bakeshop. No, we're not banking on the widespread adoption 3D printers next year; these pies won't be constructed on our desks (yet). But this doesn't our friends across the pond are going to deny themselves the joys of pie, especially since the Three Babes is able to ship such high-quality products so quickly. While it's not totally under the radar -- the pies have appeared on The Today Show, Food and Wine, The Cooking Channel, etc -- the company is just staffing up to meet increased demand.

9. captureproof. Health care has been all over the US news. Either way the debate goes in Washington, captureproof represents a glimpse of the future of medicine. Leveraging the power of the smart phones in 80% of doctors' pockets, captureproof allows patients to securely share photos and videos with their physicians. Use of captureproof leads to a reduction of many costly and time-consuming appointments by making it easier to track the healing process and to know instantly if the patient is getting better.

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