i rarely have kraeusen in my starters (and I even use 1 cup DME in 1.5 pints water.)
I usually make them late at night and don't get a chance to look at them until the next day after work, and they usually are done fermenting by that time. If I'm lucky, I catch a few bubbles coming out of the airlock as I leave for work, but that's albout all the activity I see from a starter.
The thick layer of yeast at the bottom of the jug is your best indicator that things worked.
Ground Fault Brewing Co.