A 17-year old has recently made it to the Silicon Valley’s super rich league. Nick D’Aloisio, a Wimbledon-based young innovator is the industry’s latest greenhorn. The geeky British teenager has grabbed the headlines by sealing tens of millions of dollars deal with Yahoo, for his iPhone app Summly–an app that can quickly summarize news stories from media websites.
D’Aloisio was like any other youngsters of his age—too impatient to go through the whole story or even download the full story. Just like his peers, he too found it more convenient to speed read the tweets to keep abreast of what is happening around. Nick went a step ahead and developed this app that simply collects the latest updates on a subject of importance and makes a summary of the entire issue that does not exceed a 400-500 word limit. To put it in a nutshell, Summly makes long webpages fit for reading on your phones—iPhones as well as Android-based phones. The bulleted text makes it easier for the readers to go through the major points sequentially.
Now what can be a better way than this for consuming huge amounts of information? And this was exactly what inspired D’Aloisio to venture to create an app at the age of 15, when he was studying for mock history GCSE, and was in the need of sifting through large amounts of data, singling out the most important, while forgetting about the rest.
A student of London King’s College school, D’Aloisio’s vision gave birth to Trimit, an early version of Summly, which cut down long web articles to tweet-length summaries. The app started to earn positive reviews, followed by thousands of downloads. Soon the app was spotted by none other than Li Ka-shing, Asia’s richest man who has already invested in Siri and Spotify. The far sighted billionaire made a whopping $300,000 investment in D’Aloisi’s app. The funding enabled the 15 year old to hire a team to develop a completely redesigned version of the app.
The cash also helped the boy to travel all the way to Silicon Valley in search of potential investors. Prior to that D’Aloisio had managed to convince his school to grant him a sabbatical from his GCSE. He made the good use of this time pursuing a number of biggies and celebrities in technology, movies and media to back his venture. And that include Yoko Ono, Mrs John Lennon, Hollywood’s tech savvy actor Aston Kutcher, British stage personality Stephen Fry and yes even Rupert Murdoch—his wife Wendy is rumored to be a private investor. The association proved fruitful both in terms of money and publicity—within a year of its beta launch in December 2011, D’Aloisio had secured more than £1 million in funding.
D’Aloisio chose to launch the fully redesigned app on his birthday on November 1st 2012. The revamped app, now entitled Summly, significantly increases your search efficiency. Instead of going on clicking on Google search results, Summly’s algorithm helps summarize the results of web searches automatically.
In a few weeks time, the app climbed to number nine slot in the free iPhone app chart. To date, the app has been downloaded one million times. Barely five months since then and Summly was handed over to Yahoo for an impressive $30 million. With an enormous bank balance of $30 billion, D’Aloisio is certainly the most datable boy of the moment. An offspring of a lawyer mother and investment banker father, money has never been a motivating factor in the development of this killer app, the grounded teenager said in a news statement. He is rather happy that his creation is in the able hands of Yahoo. “With the deal, it was about what’s the best company to take Summly to the next level. I think that’s Yahoo!” D’Aloisio stated. With his fortune safely resting in a trust, D’Aloisio is currently on the lookout for a new shoulder bag and pair of Nike trainers!