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If you are wondering what the future holds for humanity, look no further than the surprising and innovative world of startups. Companies like these are leading the way toward the newest, most creative solutions to the problems of today and tomorrow. From faux-meat to crowd-sourced healthcare, startups are on the forefront of human ingenuity. Keep a close eye on these 10 companies fresh on the scene.

Beyond Meat

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Founded by vegan visionary Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat has worked in the labs of the University of Missouri for 10 years to create the world’s most chicken-like non-meat food. This means cleaner protein, less animal cruelty, and possibly another step toward solving world hunger.

ZetrOZ

ZetrOZ, or Zero Electrical Impedance “OZ,” markets itself as having produced “the world’s smallest ultrasound pain therapy device.” Although the device is still in clinical trials, the ZetrOZ team believes their portable, handheld technology will be a cost-effective pain relief alternative to pharmaceuticals for both humans and animals alike.

8tracks.com

8tracks

This website is the ideal solution for people who enjoy the free, open-ended music streaming capabilities of Spotify and Pandora, but hate ads and predictable playlists. Real, human users create their own music playlists across a variety of genres to satisfy every aural palate. You’ll want a fast FiOS connection to properly take full advantage of this site

Gone

Don’t want something anymore? Send a picture of it to Gone and the app will help you sell, recycle, or dispose of it. All you have to do is take a pic of that old cable box and they’ll see if you can get a few extra bucks for it.

CopyPress

Whenever you need a reliable source of engaging content that’ll increase traffic to your website, CopyPress is the answer. Headquarted in Tampa, Fla., CopyPress hires a team of freelancers to create high quality, captivating content targeted toward any audience imaginable.

Leap Motion

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Leap Motion is the kind of technology that would fit right at home in a modern-day science fiction film. Designed to “augment” the traditional keyboard and mouse, according to co-founder Michael Buckwald, Leap Motion allows you to manipulate objects on a computer screen just by waving your fingers. The $79 USB attachment, roughly the size of a key fob, picks up minute movements up to 1/100th of a millimeter, and is used for both 3D modeling apps and games.

Lyft

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If you combine taxis with Craigslist, you might get something half as cool as Lyft. This nifty company uses social media technology to connect freelance drivers with people who might need a lift across town or around the city. Riders choose to “donate” money to the driver, who will receive his or her earnings for the day in a single lump sum. If you see a car with a fuzzy pink mustache on the grill, you’ve just seen another happy Lyft driver cruise by.

Watsi

Peace Corps veteran Chase Adam developed Watsi, a crowdsourcing alternative to third world healthcare, in 2010. Similar to Kickstarter, each patient’s fundraising page will have their picture, location, details about their medical needs, and a target goal. You might fund a heart transplant in Bangladesh one day and a prosthetic limb replacement in the Congo the next.

H.U.M.A.N. Healthy Vending

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In a market dominated by honey buns and chocolate-slathered candy bars, H.U.M.A.N. (Helping Unite Mankind and Nutrition) decided to challenge the high-calorie standards of the vending machine world by introducing Healthy Vending snacks in offices and schools worldwide. Products include sugar-free beverages, organic potato and pita chips, whole grain bars, and anything else that might wet the palate of a health nut.

Codecademy

Computer programmers are in short supply and high demand the world over. Columbia University dropout Zach Sims developed Codecademy in 2011, a free online series of programming tutorials designed to teach complete novices how to code in languages such as HTML, CSS, Javascript, Ruby, Python, and more.

The future looks bright for these 10 budding startups. Keep an eye on this motley crew, and don’t be surprised if one of these companies becomes “the next big thing” down the road.


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JT Ripton