17-Year-Old Millions Richer Thanks to App

Nick D'Aloisio sells Summly to Yahoo

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 26, 2013 10:36 AM CDT

(Newser) – It's hard not to be a little bit wowed by the latest tale of tech riches: A 17-year-old Brit has sold news app Summly to Yahoo, reports AllThingsD, whose Kara Swisher was told by sources that the purchase price was $30 million. Not too shabby for an app with just under a million downloads and no monetization plan—not that Yahoo likely cares. It's shuttering the actual app and will weave Nick D'Aloisio's algorithmic summation technology into its own products. D'Aloisio has also agreed to work for Yahoo—for the next 18 months.

Reports on the acquisition are focusing on how the buy will go a long way toward helping Yahoo beef up its desired mobile-first image. But they're also sharing the kinds of quirky details you'd expect in a story like this. Some highlights from the New York Times and the Telegraph:

  • D'Aloisio's 1996 birth date comes two years after Yahoo's 1994 founding.
  • He released his first app when he was 12, a finger-exercise app called Finger Mill; over subsequent school vacations he made apps like SongStumblr and Facemood (which assigns a happiness/sadness rating to your friends' Facebook posts).
  • He's the youngest person in history to receive venture capital funding: $300,000, which he was wired on his 16th birthday. He used that, plus another $1.2 million, to make Summly.
  • He's not moving to the US, but he will abide by Yahoo's much decried new work policy: He'll commute to the company's London office.
  • The courtship was a quick one: Summly officially launched in November; Yahoo (and others) began a conversation with D'Aloisio the next month.
  • Among D'Aloisio's big-name investors: Stephen Fry, Ashton Kutcher, Yoko Ono.
  • What he's doing with his windfall: "It’s going to be put into a trust fund and my parents will help manage it."
  • Meanwhile, over at Gizmodo, you can read all about the time Casey Chan made 15-year-old Nick cry.
Summly does technically what Newser does by hand: Summarize long-form news into briefs. If you're mourning the loss of Summly, grab one of our apps here.

Nick D'Aloisio.   (SAFAR MAHI)
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