The Best Startups of 2014

8 American Startups Who Owned 2014

2014 best startupsFor the past several years, successful and life-changing startups have been spewing out of the U.S. like a live volcano. One could even argue this non-stop eruption has been going on for the better part of a decade, but for the sake of today’s blog we will cover more recent examples. Particularly, 8 of the best startups of 2014.

It is nearly impossible to create a “Best of” or “Top 10” list without setting any precedent such as most money raised, most units sold and so on. And to be honest, any startup who is able to keep climbing rung after rung toward their goal worthy of praise. Nobody hears about the large number of startups who fail each year because nobody wants to spend their time writing or reading about disappointment.. The ones who create an original and useful product or solve a real-world problem, now those are the startups we want to hear about.

Thanks to excellent 2014 startup lists from Business Insider and Inc.com we selected 8 of the best 2014 startups we liked the most. Please note we chose to put them in alphabetical order to avoid any ranking system. Our list was not created to pit these companies against each other; we simply want to share our favorite innovative and up and coming companies of the past year.

AIRWARE

airware best startupsFounder – Jonathan Downey
Founded – 2011
Based – San Francisco
Chief Product – Operating platform for commercial drones

Although we all have our own opinions on commercial and government drones, the truth is they are coming. And coming soon. The FAA has grounded all commercial drones until they can figure out how to regulate them in U.S. airspace, and the plans should be released by early 2015. Much like Intel and Microsoft before the PC market exploded in the 1980’s Airware develops and designs hardware, software and cloud services for commercial UAVs. They are creating an OS that can be used for all sectors of the drone industry. Founder Jonathan Downey:

“It really benefits everybody in this space. The FAA doesn’t want 100 different drones (flying) with 100 different kinds of software on them.”

CURBSIDE

curbside san francisco Co-Founders – Jaron Waldman and Denis Laprise
Founded – October 2014
Based – San Francisco
Chief Product – Curbside delivery for goods bought online from brick-and-mortar stores

Online shopping is growing in popularity every year, but one aspect of this craze is no fun for anyone: waiting for shipping. Curbside was created to be the answer to waiting days for your goods or having to pay outrageously high shipping fees. With Curbside you will make your purchases on the app, drive to the store, pull up “curbside” and an associate will walk up and place your goods in your car. Simple as that. Curbside is currently working with Target and other retailers in the San Francisco area but plans on expanding to 15 markets in 2015.

DWNLD

dwnld nycCo-Founders – Fritz Lanman and Alexandra Keating
Founded – September 2014
Based – NYC
Chief Product – Software to easily and affordably create apps

Business Insider says that “DWNLD is to apps what WordPress is to websites,” and there is no better way to say it.  DWNLD allows anyone who can learn the software to quickly and easily create an app that be immediately uploaded into the App Store. Founded by investor Fritz Lanman and Alexandra Keating, DWNLD is fairly cheap at $15/month when you consider what it provides its users. Many people have amazing ideas but lack the technical skills to turn these ideas into a useful app or service. For people in that crowd, welcome to DWNLD.

GLAMSQUAD

glamsquad nycFounder – Victoria Eisner
Founded – January 2014
Based – NYC
Chief Product/Service – At-home beauty appointments

Ladies, have you ever wanted a hair stylist or makeup artist to come to your apartment/condo/house to glam you up for a night out? Co-founder Victoria Eisner experienced this dilemma on NYE one year when she need a blow-out appointment before going out. Glamsquad has spread out to most major cities and definitely offers a service women can use for any occasion. They also recently raised $7 million in Series A funding in a round led by SoftBank Capital.

SLACK

slack san franciscoFounder – Stewart Butterfield
Founded – 2013
Based – San Francisco
Chief Product – A team communication tool that can used onsite and worldwide

Poor communication is one of the main stoppers of workflow and overall productiveness. Thanks to Stewart Butterfield, this will never happen again. Even if half your team is halfway around the world. Slack is a corporate chatroom that allows the highest level of team communication and collaboration. As of October 2014, Slack had raised $120 million in funding and owns a $1.12 billion valuation. If you recognize Butterfield’s name, it’s for a reason. He also founded the now Yahoo-owned photo site Flickr.

SNAPCHAT

snapchat veniceCo-Founders – Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown
Founded – 2011
Based – Venice, CA
Chief Product – An app that sends messages which disappear in seconds

If you are one of the unfortunate who actually live under a rock, you may not have heard of Snapchat. For those of us who enjoy modern-day society, we know all about the app that sends pictures, video, text and drawings that disappear in seconds. What you may not know is why they are included in a 2014 list, so here’s the scoop. As of May 2014, users were sending 700 million photos and videos per day. This popularity, among other variables, led to a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook that they turned down. Why? Because Snapchat was valued at $10 billion in August 2014.  They also recently announced a partnership with Square called Snapcash that includes an integrated payment system. This app will soon be used by many more people than its current demographic of 13-23 year olds.

uBEAM

ubeam 2014 startups Founder – Meredith Perry
Founded – 2012
Based – Los Angeles
Chief Product – Technology that uses ultrasound waves to charge devices wirelessly

When Founder and CEO Meredith Perry showed up to class at UPenn with a dead laptop and no power cord, she vowed to never let plugging in hold her back again. She went on to win an invention competition and take her genius idea to the next level after graduation. Three years later, uBeam released its first prototype in August and has millions in angel funding. uBeam converts electricity into sound and delivers it to a receiver via ultrasound. Once the receiver catches the waves, it converts it back to electricity and powers up any device in the room. With Perry’s uBeam, you could walk around your house, a store or an airport while your phone, laptop or tablet charges up on its own.

UBER

uber 2014 best startupsCo-Founders – Travis Kalanick, Garrett Camp
Founded – 2009
Based – San Francisco
Chief Product – A rideshare and taxi service company

Uber is another company founded years ago but has risen to global prominence in 2014. A variety of lawsuits and competitors have emerged throughout the years, but Uber remains popular among its customers and created a global phenomenon. In fact, Uber raised $1.8 billion in 2014 on a $40 billion valuation. It now operates in over 200 cities worldwide and continues to expand its reach.

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Posted in Capital Formation, Entrepreneurs, funding, Investors, Start-ups, Uncategorized

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