Tags: summly | student | app | yahoo

British High Schooler Sells App to Yahoo for Millions

Image: British High Schooler Sells App to Yahoo for Millions 2012 photo of Nick D'Aloisio, founder of Summly.

Tuesday, 26 Mar 2013 02:26 PM

By Lisa Barron

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Two years ago, British teenager Nick D’Aloisio broke all previous records to become the youngest person ever to receive venture capital funding. On Monday, the London-based 17-year-old proved to be a good investment, selling his news-reading app, Summly, to Yahoo for a reported $30 million.

The company also gave him a job, and Yahoo said it would incorporate the technology, which breaks down news stories into shorter chunks of text readable on smartphone screens, into its own mobile apps, according to The New York Times.

D’Alosio’s first backer was Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, whose investment fund reportedly read about the teen’s early-stage app on a leading Silicon Valley blog, found his e-mail address and sent him a message. The fund provided seed money so he could rent office space and hire employees.

Other investors, including Wendi Murdoch, Ashton Kutcher, and Yoko Ono, signed on later.

“Because it was my first time around, people just wanted to help,” D’Aloisio told the Times.

Today, D’Aloisio says his major advantage is “the strength of the idea,” telling the Times, “People are kind of underestimating how powerful it’s going to become and how much opportunity is there.”

D’Aloisio taught himself to code at age 12, after the launch of Apple’s App Store, and created several apps before deciding to develop one with what he described as an “automatic summarization algorithm,” one that ‘can take pre-existing long-form content and summarize it.”

Summly officially launched in November 2012 and by December there were already potential suitors.

D’Aloisio, whose father works at Morgan Stanley and whose mother is a lawyer, has reportedly started taking his final school exams in math, physics, and philosophy, and will work out of Yahoo’s London offices. He told the Times he wants to attend college at Oxford.

As for his recent windfall, D’Aloisio said it’s going into a trust fund and “my parents will help manage it.”

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