SmartCompany’s most-read startup stories of 2020

Aubrey Blanche

Aubrey Blanche, global head of equitable design and impact at Culture Amp. Source: supplied.

When we took a look at the most read stories on SmartCompany as a whole during 2020, there was a clear weighting towards articles about JobKeeper and other COVID-19 stimulus measures.

But, if we isolate the tech and startup stories, we get a slightly different look at the trends of the year.

Articles on growth and funding are always popular, and this year was no exception. But there was particular interest in the buy-now pay-later sector, with BeforePay’s $4 million raise and an analysis piece on why COVID-19 was driving investment in this space both attracting a great deal of attention.

We’ve seen a lot of activity in the fintech sector more broadly this year, reflected in interest in Ben Phisterer’s Zeller, as well as in trading platform Superhero, which announced last week it was moving into super (we should have seen that one coming).

Still, sometimes all you want is a good story, which is exactly what you got from this article about Jackson Meyer, who celebrated a wildly successful first 12 months of business back in February, aged just 23.

In a year that hasn’t been particularly kind to women founders, one of our most popular startup stories was this piece from Lauren Quaintance about the assumptions people made about her when she launched her business Storyation, and why we have to change the conversation here.

And finally, a story from way back at the beginning of the year that captured readers’ attention was our piece on Aubrey Blanche’s move from Atlassian to Culture Amp — from one unicorn to another.

Growth and funding

  1. “We don’t need external capital”: How Sleeping Duck bootstrapped its way to 500% revenue growth, and “tens of millions” a year
  2. Like Afterpay, but for everything else: Sydney fintech Beforepay bags $4 million
  3. Sydney startup Superhero secures $8 million, with backing from Afterpay and Zip founders
  4. Former Square execs raise $6.3 million for pre-launch Aussie fintech revamping SME banking
  5. “You’re dreaming, kid”: Meet the 23-year-old founder who bagged $24 million in revenue in his first 12 months of business
  6. Blackbird has $500 million to invest in the “most ambitious and the most courageous” Aussie startup founders


  1. As Afterpay shares go gangbusters, why is COVID-19 driving a buy-now-pay-later boom?
  2. Vic government launches $1,200 grants to help SMEs go digital: Here’s what you need to know
  3. Bill Gates and Richard Branson have their sights on the mining sector — and investment opportunities for startups abound

Profiles and people

  1. People assumed it was a ‘lifestyle decision’ when I started my business: It’s time to ditch myths about female entrepreneurship
  2. From a SodaStream to Woolworths: How Applelachia founder Caroline Chang is taking apple cider vinegar to the masses
  3. Why Atlassian’s Aubrey Blanche left one Aussie unicorn for another


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