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Teen's multimillion-dollar Yahoo payday before 18th birthday

Ben Grubb (via SMH) | March 26, 2013
At just 17, former Perth and Melbourne resident Nick D'Aloisio is now one of the world's youngest self-made multimillionaires, after tech giant Yahoo acquired his firm for a reported $28.7 million.

At just 17, former Perth and Melbourne resident Nick D'Aloisio is now one of the world's youngest self-made multimillionaires, after tech giant Yahoo acquired his firm for a reported $28.7 million.

His technology Summly aims to change the way we read emails, news articles or any other text on our computers and smartphones by using algorithms to summarise text in under 400 characters.

Yahoo did not disclose the terms of the deal, but The Wall Street Journal's AllThingsD blog said Yahoo would pay $US30 million ($28.7 million), mostly in cash, with 10 per cent in stock.


Nick D'Aloisio.

Summly founder Nick D'Aloisio, 17.

Before the Yahoo deal, D'Aloisio received a collective $US1.5 million in investment funds from people including celebrities Ashton Kutcher and Stephen Fry and billionaire Li Ka-shing.

Speaking from his family home in London, where he has lived since leaving Australia when he was seven, D'Aloisio said he was excited about the deal with Yahoo, believing it would help assist in developing the Summly technology further and integrating it with Yahoo's offerings.

His technology summarises text using algorithmic technologies, allowing for simplified dot point summaries of anything on the web such as search results. It has many uses and could even be used to summarise emails, social networking posts and product descriptions.


The Summly app.

The Summly app.

The deal with Yahoo will see his company's iPhone app Summly shut down. D'Aloisio said the app had been downloaded almost 1 million times in the past five months and generated about 90 million summaries.

While active it received Apple's Best Apps of 2012 award for Intuitive Touch and had a contract to display content from News Corp publications.

The purchase has led some in the media to question why Yahoo would want to acquire the technology. Technology news website Wired suggested it was so that Yahoo could be cool again.

"There's no logical explanation for Yahoo's reported $US30 million acquisition of Summly," wrote Wired's Ryan Tate. "The team and technology are unexceptional and the app itself will be shut down. What Yahoo really gets for its big cheque is momentum and buzz. In other words, Yahoo bought Summly to appear cool again."

D'Aloisio said it was "technically true" that he was now a millionaire after sealing the Yahoo deal, but added that he had no immediate plans to do anything with the money.

"Obviously the money is going to be in a fund and I'll work with my parents to save it,' he said. "I'm just focused now on working for Yahoo and kind of taking everything to the next level.

 

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