Meet Nick D’Aloisio, a regular 17-year-old and possibly the world’s youngest tech multimillionaire after his smartphone app was sold to Yahoo for an estimated $30 million.
The British teen, who started designing apps at the age of 12, came up with the idea for Summly while doing school work.
“I was revising for history exams and using Google and search engines. And I realized there was a gap in the market,” he said.
D’Aloisio created a technology that summarized news stories into 400 characters. He launched Summly and soon after Apple featured it as a new and noteworthy app.
“When I was 15, I released a demo of the app,” D’Aloisio told TODAY. “And the Hong Kong billionaire, Li Ka-Shing, his kind of investment fund, reached out to me. We had a phone call where they didn’t know my age. At the end of the call, they were like, ‘When should we meet? We’ll fly to London.’ I was kinda like: ‘Before school or after school.’ "
Asked if the money will change him, D’Aloisio said no.
“My motivation was never about the money, it was about the technology and the product. So because of that, I don’t think going forward it will feel that different,” he said.
And no splurges are on the horizon. “Well, I can’t touch the money. It’s like in a trust fund with my parents. So I’ll be managing it with them,” D’Aloisio said.
The Yahoo acquisition was pegged at $30 million by All Things D, which cited unnamed sources who said the company paid 90 percent in cash and 10 percent in stock. The British teen will reportedly go to work for Yahoo for 18 months as part of the deal.
“I’m really excited that we’ve sold it because Yahoo’s a really great company to be joining right now, I think with Marissa Mayer there as their CEO,” he said.” As a technologist, it’s great time to be joining the company because they’re focusing on mobile and applications and that’s exactly what Summly was.”
Since the acquisition, Summly is no longer available as a free app, but will be incorporated into several Yahoo offerings as it repositions its focus on mobile.
“I think the plan is to take our technology, this summarization algorithm and integrate it into as many different parts of Yahoo as possible,” D’Aloisio said.
With one mega-deal under his belt, D’Aloisio said he has a few role models to emulate.“Mark Zuckerberg’s obviously very inspirational because he’s a young CEO of kinda a big company and he started when he was 19. I think Steve Jobs is also really inspirational for me because he was very persistent in doing what he wanted to do and that’s why Apple became what it is,” D’Aloisio said.