Somehow it felt like this year both flew by in a blur and lasted for a century. But it’s true: 2020 is almost over.
Particularly with the passage of time, it’s going to be hard to remember 2020 for anything but the obvious: LSU beating Clemson in January for the college football championship. Oh yeah, also the global pandemic.
It was also a bit of an unusual year in GrepBeat traffic. Consider that neither of the two most-read stories of 2020 was actually published this year.
The most-clicked story—by far—was “Cary-based CEO Swam With Sharks and Lived to Tell Tale of Deal,” which first ran on Oct. 30, 2018. That’s due to relentless repeats of the Shark Tank episode on which CEO Shane Cox of Cary-based PEEQ Technologies got a deal for his QBall, a wireless microphone embedded in a rubber ball. If you Google “QBall Shark Tank,” our story is one of the highest results. Go ahead, try it.
The second-most read story this year is last year’s champ: “The Manager Who Discovered Elton John Now Runs Raleigh-Based Startup” (May 30, 2019). It’s another SEO special, especially after people watch the movie Rocketman, in which Ray Williams (now a Raleighite) is featured as a character.
But we’re going to focus on the 20 most-read stories of 2020 that were actually from this year. And then, as soon as possible, we’re going to say good-bye to this gosh-forsaken year and look ahead to a much better 2021.
1. Meet… Todd Buelow, Principal, Dualboot Partners (July 30)—Maybe my constant pitch to include more sports coverage in GrepBeat should focus on the fact that this year’s top story features former rugby player Todd and also mentions basketball, football and soccer.
2. Meet… Allison Polish, President, Spoonflower (March 31)—My favorite part of this Q&A was Allison talking about her love of karaoke, of which I am also an aficionado (though just of the private-room variety). We also need to congratulate our own Tricia Lucas, as of the five 2020 editions of her “Meet…” Q&A series, four of them landed in the year’s top 20—including the top two slots.
3. Raleigh’s Natrx Harnesses Nature, Fights Coastal Erosion In N.C. And Beyond (May 26)—Our terrific 2020 summer intern Elizabeth Moore got out of the gates quickly by landing her first-ever GrepBeat story at No. 3 on this list.
4. Raleigh’s Simpliworks Can Help You Sell On Amazon Like A Pro (June 11)—In a year that has seen a pandemic-related boom in ecommerce, it’s only fitting that a startup designed to make it easier to sell products on Amazon would get major hits.
5. RelayOne Takes Scalpel To Hospital Operating Rooms’ Scheduling Process (March 5)—It makes me a little sad to read this story again. Not because RelayOne isn’t a fitting story subject—it is—but because this feature was part of those previewing the startups that were all set to present in person at CED’s Venture Connect Summit on March 17-19, which of course was swallowed up by the pandemic less than a week after this story published.
6. Postcard From Wilmington: Full Speed Ahead Despite Turbulent Waters (June 18)—Jim Roberts has written two “Postcards From Wilmington” for GrepBeat and both have ranked in the top 10, after last year’s effort checked in at No. 7. Jim successfully wears many hats, and social-media hustler is definitely one of them.
7. The Download: Rich Lee, CEO, Pureport (Feb. 11)—Rich, who is on his third successful startup with Raleigh-based Pureport, certainly made for a compelling subject. But we’d also like to thank our own Brooks Malone, whose day job is as accounting firm Hughes Pittman’s Man To Know, for cranking out a new Download every two weeks even during a global pandemic.
8. Cry At Your Party If You Want To, But memoryCrafters Removes Planning Tears (Sept. 8)—Hey, I worked really hard on this headline and I’m taking full credit for the story’s success. Though tbh, it’s probably more due to the social-media savvy of memoryCrafters founders (and married couple) Abhi and Poonam Narang.
9. Hit Game Temple Run Helps Imangi Studios Keep Pace With Bigger Rivals (Feb. 18)—Never has a GrepBeat writer been more excited to take on a story than our Laura Brummett was to write about her favorite video game, Temple Run, when we discovered that it was created by a Raleigh-based gaming startup.
10. RelyMD Brings Telemedicine To Forefront Of Battling Covid-19 Safely (March 26)—When the pandemic hit, GrepBeat had to adjust like the rest of the world. This is one of the stories we wrote early on about one of the trends that was rapidly emerging: the rise of telemedicine.
11. Hush Buddy Makes Bedtime Easier For Toddlers—And Their Parents (Oct. 13)
12. These Two Duke Startups Will Help You Run Away From Your Problems (July 7)
13. Meet… Catherine Harrell, CMO, Dude Solutions (March 3)
14. Davos Wants To Open Doors For Borrowers By Removing Risk For Lenders (Nov 5)
15. Durham Fintech LoanWell Powers Covid-19 Relief Fund For Entire State (June 4)
16. Startup Reflekt Me Brings E-Commerce Fashion The Inclusivity It Needs (Feb. 4)
17. Meet… Adam Price, Mako Medical’s Shark Whisperer (Feb. 19)
18. Alcove’s Platform Addresses Affordable Housing Crisis With Cheap Rooms For Rent (Jan. 28)
19. The Download: Michael Jones, CEO, Spoonflower (Oct. 20)
20. YaHeard It Right: This App Wants You to Debate With Strangers (July 2)
Months with most stories on list: T1) February and March, 4; T3) June and July, 3; 5) September, 2; T6) January, May, September and November, 1
Months with no stories on list: April, August, December
And for posterity’s sake, here are the Most-Read Stories from 2019 and 2018.