Yahoo buying teenager’s startup, reportedly for $30M
The 17-year-old’s algorithmic invention for a news-reading app lured the Silicon Valley startup, which is trying to strengthen its mobile offerings.
The New York Times
One of Yahoo’s newest employees is a 17-year-old high-school student in Britain. As of Monday, he is one of its richest, too.
Nick D’Aloisio, a programming whiz who wasn’t even born when Yahoo was founded in 1994, sold his news-reading app, Summly, to Yahoo on Monday for a sum said to be in the tens of millions of dollars.
Yahoo said it would incorporate his algorithmic invention, which takes long-form stories and shortens them for readers using smartphones, in its own mobile apps, with D’Aloisio’s help.
“I’ve still got a year and a half left at my high school,” he said in a telephone interview. But to partly abide by the company’s new policy that prohibits working from home, he will make arrangements to test out of his classes and work from the Yahoo office in London.
D’Aloisio, who declined to comment on the price paid by Yahoo (the website All Things D pegged the purchase price at about $30 million), described himself not as the majority owner of Summly but as its largest shareholder.
Summly’s other investors, improbably enough, included Rupert Murdoch’s wife, Wendi; Ashton Kutcher; and Yoko Ono.
The most important one was Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, whose investment fund supported D’Aloisio’s idea early.
“They took a gamble on me when I was a 15-year-old,” D’Aloisio said, by providing seed financing that let him hire employees and lease office space.
Summly officially came online in November. By December, D’Aloisio was talking to Yahoo and other suitors.
Yahoo said in a statement that while the Summly app would be shut down, “we will acquire the technology and you’ll see it come to life throughout Yahoo’s mobile experiences soon.”
In the meantime, when not working at Yahoo, D’Aloisio will keep up with his hobbies — cricket in particular — and set his sights on attending college at Oxford.