These were DC’s 10 most-read tech stories of 2020

What mattered most to readers this year? From remote work to COVID-19 responses to upskilling, enjoy this shortlist of the year's most popular stories on DC.

Osage Venture Partners is looking to Washington, D.C. for deals. (Photo by Flickr user @ricricciardi, used under a Creative Commons license)
2020 has been a tumultuous year and an unexpected start to a new decade.

The COVID-19 pandemic consumed a majority of our coverage, from how tech startups made pivots to what this health crisis could mean for the local small business community for years to come. Like many news outlets, shifting to cover the coronavirus regularly was a big move DC didn’t take lightly. This type of coverage has pushed us to think outside the box more often.

In June, we took another pivot when the news of George Floyd’s murder swept the nation. I authored my first op-ed sharing my experience protesting in D.C. during this unprecedented time, for instance, and we detailed activist group Freedom Fighters’s rise from a conversation on Twitter. As a whole that month, we published an array of stories and first-person essays on racial equity topics.

We were doing all of this while still delivering on our regular #dctech news coverage in the region. Each year, we take a look back on what matters the most to readers. Not included on this list are some stories from past years that readers revisited often in 2020, including our 2019 D.C. RealLIST and Amazon HQ2 progress.

Out of the hundreds of articles published on DC in 2020 thus far, here’s a list of the top 10 stories you read the most this year:

10. Trustify founder Danny Boice has been charged with fraud and money laundering

Trustify founder and former CEO Danny Boice. (Screenshot via YouTube)

Founded in 2015, now-defunct Trustify created an app that connects users to private investigators. this story broke down the details around founder and former CEO Danny Boice being charged with fraud and money laundering by the Department of Justice in July for allegedly running “fraud scheme resulting in millions of dollars of losses to investors” who gave money to fund Trustify. Since we first reported on this, Boice has plead guilty to the fraud charges and his sentencing is scheduled for March 19, 2021.

9. Virtual happy hours, Zoom calls and friendly competition: Here’s how 3 DC orgs transitioned to remote work

Leaders at SEED SPOT, GiveCampus and Byte Back shared how their teams quickly pivoted to a remote work model the week after the stay-at-home order was announced in D.C. Using communication outlets like Zoom and Slack, these teams have continued to thrive by hosting virtual happy hours and lunches, frequent brainstorming meetings and friendly competitions.

8. Blackboard opens its new global HQ in Northern Virginia

Blackboard’s new and improved Reston, Virginia office. (Courtesy photo)

After announcing that it would combine its former D.C. and Reston, Virginia operations, edtech company Blackboard moved into its global headquarters in Northern Virginia in January. The office space equipped with amenities like arcade games takes over the 11th floor of a building situated at 11720 Plaza America Drive in Reston. At the time of this article, the company reported having 350 employees, but like many of us, they have been working from home since March.

7. How Virginia pathogen-testing company Aperiomics is responding to COVID-19

Aperiomics’ COVID-19 testing in action. (Courtesy photo)

Sterling, Virginia-based biotech company Aperiomics didn’t stop its operations when the pandemic it — indeed, it actually ramped up work. In this Q&A, the company’s CEO Dr. Crystal Icenhour shares how the company made some shifts in light of COVID-19 and how Aperiomics addressed the virus. Following this story, the company launched a COVID-19 test that provides results in 48 to 72 hours.

6. NSA goes public with Windows security vulnerability

In January, Fort Meade, Maryland-based National Security Agency went public with a security flaw it found concerning Microsoft products including Windows 10 and Server 16. Attackers could use the bug to download Windows systems and software on computers that would be disguised under Microsoft products. The NSA doesn’t announce vulnerabilities like this often, which further emphasized the severity of this situation.

5. Here’s how to apply for DC’s microgrant program for small businesses affected by COVID-19

When Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a $25 million recovery fund to provide grants to small businesses in D.C. impacted by COVID-19 back in March, there was various information floating around about how to apply for funding. This article shared a clear breakdown of how to apply for a grant (which closed April 1) and some clear restrictions on eligibility.

4. Gallaudet University helped Apple pick an accessible face mask for its employees

Baltimore-based ClearMask is helping make communication more accessible. (Photo via Twitter)

Gallaudet University consulted with tech giant Apple on the creation of an accessible face mask to distribute to its corporate and retail employees. Apple’s engineering and industrial design teams developed a face mask in-house, but the tech company is also distributing transparent masks manufactured by Baltimore-based ClearMask to its employees as we continue to wear face masks to fight the pandemic.

3. Meet DC’s 20 most promising tech companies: RealLIST Startups 2020

Pie Insurance. (Photo via Linkedin)

To this reporter’s surprise, our 2020 D.C. RealLIST landed at #3 this year, after previous versions often being our most read story of the year in the past. This annual list includes 20 of the most promising startups to watch over the year. We also checked in with the top 10 features on the 2020 list; here’s how they were doing in August.

The 2019 D.C. RealLIST still remains our best read story to-date on DC.

2. DC’s new drive-in movie theater at RFK Stadium will also feature live shows

Local independent music festival curator Broccoli City teamed up with Events DC to host Park Up DC, a pop-up drive in movie theater set up at RFK Stadium, over the summer. Originally slated to run through October, Park Up DC is still showing movies through the winter season, including holiday favorites like “The Polar Express,” “Elf,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and more. This new installment came at a time where many residents were (and still are) missing movie theater experiences. The drive-in movie theater also services the D.C. community via food banks, church services, community-centric films and documentaries.

1. Cybrary is offering 7 free online courses to promote cybersecurity and IT education

The local tech community made it very clear what is important to them with the views on this story: online tech upskilling opportunities. It’s no secret that people and even technologists are looking for ways to improve their technical skills through the pandemic. Back in July, College Park, Maryland-based Cybrary began offering free online courses in cybersecurity and IT, and has continued to do so. The company started this initiative to support cyber professionals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In November, Cybrary also began offering free courses to help organizations better address cyber attacks, political disinformation and more. The program continues to expand as people across the nation are facing more job uncertainty moving into the new year.


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