British teen sells cell information app to Yahoo for $30 million

SAN FRANCISCO — Meet Nick D’Aloisio, the 17-year-old British entrepreneur who simply offered his standard news-reading app to Yahoo Inc. for near $30 million, immediately changing into one of many world’s youngest self-made millionaires.

It’s the traditional Silicon Valley success story of a younger software program prodigy hanging it ridiculously and improbably huge. However this time the highlight is shining on the opposite facet of the pond.

You are reading: British teen sells cell information app to Yahoo for $30 million

D’Aloisio, who taught himself to write down software program at age 12, constructed the free iPhone app Summly — which robotically summarizes information tales for small screens — in his London bed room in 2011. He was simply 15 years outdated.

Quickly he had backing from Horizons Ventures, the enterprise capital arm of Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing and massive names corresponding to Zynga Inc.’s Mark Pincus and actor Ashton Kutcher.

Earlier than it was pulled from the app retailer Monday after the announcement of the Yahoo deal, D’Aloisio’s app Summly had been downloaded practically 1 million instances. It had offers with 250 on-line publishers, together with Information Corp., and 10 workers in London. Not unhealthy for a highschool pupil.

“To me, Yahoo is the very best firm to be becoming a member of proper now as a result of it’s one in every of these traditional Web firms,” D’Aloisio mentioned in an interview. “With new management from Marissa Mayer, Yahoo has a powerful give attention to cell and product, and that’s the proper match for Summly.”

Mayer, the previous Google Inc. government who took over the Sunnyvale, Calif., firm final summer season, has centered on cell know-how to revive Yahoo’s lagging fortunes. She has snapped up numerous promising cell start-ups as a lot for his or her personnel as for the innovation.

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In D’Aloisio, Yahoo is getting somebody who really thinks and lives within the cell world.

Reasonably than looking the Internet by clicking a mouse, extra individuals are connecting to the Web with their smartphone or pill, altering what type and the way a lot data they eat, Yahoo cell chief Adam Cahan mentioned. Silicon Valley firms corresponding to Fb and Yahoo want to adapt their Web companies to carry on to customers who need simpler, quicker methods to search out what issues to them.

“Summly solves this by delivering snapshots of tales, providing you with a easy and chic solution to discover the information you need, quicker than ever earlier than,” Cahan mentioned.

D’Aloisio, who took a break from faculty for six months to focus full time on Summly, will be a part of Yahoo’s London workplace whereas persevering with his research within the evenings and dwelling at house along with his mother and father. He says Yahoo plans to combine Summly into all kinds of cell experiences.

“The actual concept is to take the core of the know-how and discover completely different suits for it and make it as ubiquitous as attainable on the Internet,” he mentioned. “We need to take summarization and construct lovely content material experiences round it.”

He says his mother and father — his dad is an power financier, his mom is a lawyer — will assist him handle the monetary windfall (he says all he desires is a brand new pc and pair of Nike trainers). However he says he was not pushed to the deal by greenback indicators.

“Expertise has actually been the motive force behind this entire deal,” D’Aloisio mentioned. “I can’t wait to see the way it performs out at Yahoo.”

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D’Aloisio is only one of numerous under-21 entrepreneurs who’ve made tens of millions at a really younger age.

Patrick Collison, who took his first pc class at age 8 and entered younger scientist competitions as a teen in Eire, was simply 19 when he and his brother John offered their Silicon Valley start-up Auctomatic to Canadian firm Reside Present Media Inc., a deal that made them in a single day millionaires.

“It was useful perspective to have one thing like that occur very early on,” mentioned Collison, who’s now co-founder and chief government of San Francisco funds start-up Stripe. “It exhibits you that it’s not all that huge a deal. Sure, it’s fantastic to create one thing that somebody is fascinated about buying, and it’s good to have extra money than you had earlier than, however actually nothing modifications. Having fun with what you do on a day-to-day foundation is what’s vital.”

The sudden flash of worldwide media consideration has been a bit overwhelming, D’Aloisio mentioned. However not in a nasty approach.

“It’s been a completely superior expertise,” D’Aloisio mentioned. “I’d like to do it once more sometime with one other firm.”

Spoken like a real entrepreneur.

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