As we turn the page on another year, that means it’s time once more to look back at the GrepBeat stories that attracted the most eyeballs in 2022. [Caveat: This list will focus on stories published in 2022; below we will mention two stories from past years that ranked very high this year as well.]
There was plenty to choose from this year as 2022 saw the most new stories in GrepBeat history with 296—including the one you’re reading—compared to 203 in 2021, a whopping 45.8% increase. The main reason for that surge is that for much of 2022 we had a fulltime writer, Suzanne Blake, as opposed to our more typical intern army. We’re back to our talented interns now, though that could change at some point in 2023.
So it’s no surprise that Suzanne wrote 18 of the 20 most-read GrepBeat stories in 2022. One—No. 11—was written by Claire Perry (byline: Susannah Claire Perry), our current star intern who is about to be joined by two more for the spring semester. The other one was written by yours truly (see No. 16 below), and considering it was the only “official” grepbeat.com story I wrote all year, that’s a solid batting average. (I’m pretty sure Suzanne was on vacation that week. Also, by publishing this very story, I’m almost certainly cutting my batting average in half.)
Here are the 20 most-read stories of 2022, with some added color for the top 10:
1. Where Are They Now: Organic Transit’s Pedal-Powered Vehicle Had Quite A Ride (Feb. 15, 2022)—This was the breakout star from an eight-story “Where Are They Now?” package we did to catch up with companies that were past honorees on NC TECH’s annual Top 10 Startups To Watch list. (Here’s the package’s main story, which has links to the other seven standalone features.) Organic Transit’s pedal-powered Elf vehicle got lots of buzz, including being named to NC TECH’s 2014 list, but ultimately it hit too many roadblocks and the startup filed for bankruptcy in 2019.
The story is also notable because the main image features Organic Transit Founder Rob Cotter posing in front of an Elf with Tesla’s two co-founders, neither of whom are Elon Musk. (The Chief Twit was not a co-founder of Tesla; he acquired the company and named himself CEO.) This is currently the fourth-most-read story in GrepBeat history.
2. BCVP Raises $53 Million Fund To Deploy In Early-Stage Software Startups (May 5, 2022)—Last year, the Download Q&A featuring BCVP General Partner David Jones clocked in at No. 10. While we at GrepBeat, of course, value all of our Triangle tech VCs equally, Bull City Venture Partners has some ammunition if they want to claim to be first among equals according to GrepBeat readers.
3. Triangle VCs By The Numbers: Who Do They Invest In, and Why? (April 21, 2022)—Anecdotally, we received a lot of positive feedback for undertaking this deep dive of the portfolios and approaches of Triangle venture capital funds. If only we’d added a category for “Most Stories On GrepBeat’s Most-Read Lists.”
4. RTP-Based Zaloni’s Data Platform Acquired By Charlotte-HQ’d Truist (Aug. 23, 2022)—It’s no surprise that stories about exits—or Exit Stories, if you will—are of significant interest to our readers. After all, achieving an exit and landing the $$ it typically brings is a shiny goal for many aspiring founders and the major motivator for investors.
5. Startup Life’s Dark Secret: Founders Often Face Mental Health Challenges (June 14, 2022)—One society-wide positive development over the past few years is that people are more willing to talk about mental health challenges and seek help. That’s true in the startup community as well. The fact is that it’s very, very stressful to run a startup no matter how it might look from the outside, and we could all use some help sometimes.
6. Man In A Hurry: How Erkang Zheng Made JupiterOne A Unicorn In Just Two Years (July 5, 2022)—In our four and a half years, GrepBeat has written about literally hundreds of early-stage startups, and in truth only a tiny percentage will ever become unicorns. In fact, JupiterOne is the only Triangle-based tech startup that has launched after GrepBeat did and already achieved unicorn-hood. No wonder this profile of Founder and CEO Erkang Zheng was popular.
7. Duke Senior And His Two Brothers Getting “Real” About Sports Viewing Experience (Aug. 18, 2022)—As a huge sports fan and former longtime sportswriter, this story was arguably more in my hit zone than any in GrepBeat history. But obviously plenty of others were interested in reading this feature on three brothers who have launched an app aiming to transform the community experience of live sports viewing.
8. CareYaya Breaks Down Barriers To Finding Affordable Home Elder Care (Feb. 10, 2022)—We’re always happy to write a feature about a Triangle-based startup participating in the RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP), and not just because the RIoT team were collectively the most loyal and successful players in “Where’s Pete?” history. We’re even happier when one of the stories performs really well, like this one about promising startup CareYaya.
9. Pendo Unveils New Downtown HQ, Looks Ahead To Strong 2022 Growth [PICTURES] (Feb. 24, 2022)—In keeping with our mission, grepbeat.com feature stories typically focus on early-stage startups, with an emphasis on early. We tend to leave our coverage of larger and more established tech companies for the newsletter. But when we do run a story on a well-known local unicorn like Pendo, people obviously read it. Especially when the headline promises cool pictures of Pendo’s swanky new HQ.
10. Global Data Consortium Acquired by London Stock Exchange Group (April 5, 2022)—As I noted in Tuesday’s newsletter, it’s been a heck of a year for Bill Spruill. The Co-Founder and then-CEO of GDC led the company through its growth and eventual acquisition by LSEG in April, later revealing the price tag ($300M) in our Exit Stories podcast in August. Bill also talked about the deal on the Friday Nooner a mere 10 days after this story ran, and then just last week he was named TBJ’s 2022 Business Person of the Year.
11. Durham Startup BotBuilt Using Robotic Arms To Attack Housing Crisis (Dec. 8, 2022)
12. Exsto Bio On Mission To Set Standard of Medical Marijuana Treatment (April 14, 2022)
13. Backed By $700K Grant, NCCU’s Beefed-Up CEED Program Spurs Entrepreneurship (Aug. 25, 2022)
14. Ashanti Styles Brings Authentic African Sauces To Stores In The Triangle (May 12, 2022)
15. Scot Wingo Unveils His 2022 Triangle Tweener List, With 37 New Startups (June 16, 2022)
16. Spiffy Smells Success With Its New “Smart Tumbler” Odor-Elimination Device (March 10, 2022)
17. Coming Soon: UPWARD RTP, A Mentorship Community For Women Executives (April 12, 2022)
18. Raleigh’s Atlas Certified Acquired By I.D. Verification Platform CLEAR (April 27, 2022)
19. German-Austrian Tech Company Chooses Durham As U.S. Headquarters (May 10, 2022)
20. Jurassic Capital Closes Inaugural Fund With Commitments Of $20+ Million (Jan. 10, 2022)
Two stories written in prior years checked in among the top three most-read stories in 2022. Up at No. 2 was WAAM Connects Busy Bodies With Their Favorite Workout Trainers from June 6, 2019. This story got a major second life this September from the Cake Resume Heard Round The World, when WAAM Founder Karly Pavlinac put her resume on a cake that she sent to Nike HQ —an experience she wrote about in a LinkedIn post that went viral. Karly also talked about both WAAM’s 2021 acquistion by wellness brand The St. James as well as the famous cake when she was a guest on the Nov. 1 episode of Exit Stories.
The third-most read story in 2022 was YaHeard It Right: This App Wants You to Debate With Strangers, first published on July 2, 2020. Its staying power is due in large part to former rapper Master P featuring YaHeard last June in his “Master P Reviews” YouTube series on products from small businesses. That helped the YaHeard story rank first in 2021 after ranking “only” No. 20 in 2020.
YaHeard is the second-most-read story in GrepBeat history, behind Cary-based CEO Swam With Sharks and Lived to Tell Tale of Deal from way back on Oct. 30, 2018. That gets new traffic every time the Shark Tank episode in which the startup earned a deal airs in syndication.
Our 2022 traffic also showed a lot of interest in our inaugural Grep-a-palooza conference. The main Grep-a-palooza page on grepbeat.com got more traffic than any story this year except for Organic Transit, and that includes WAAM and YaHeard. (I didn’t count it above because technically it was a page, not a story/post.) We’re looking forward to Grep-a-palooza II this summer!
Among stories written in 2022, here are the months that landed the most in the top 20:
1. April (5)
T2. February, May, August (3)
5. June (2)
T6. January, March, July, December (1)
T10. September, October, November (0)