March 27, 2013

Teenager sells startup to Yahoo for $30 million

Yahoo is letting its desire for mobile growth be known. And with its most recent technology acquisition – an iPhone application – it is continuing to bring on engineering talent and new innovations.

CEO Marissa Mayer announced this week that Yahoo had acquired the startup Summly for $30 million. That is fairly good as far as company acquisitions go, but especially since the founder and creator is still a teenager.

Nick D'Aloisio is a 17-year-old who had a good idea and was able to make a profit on it. Two years ago, D'Aloisio created an iPhone app that would scan online articles and instantly summarize them into a single piece, designed to fit the phone's small screen. He wrote the necessary algorithm himself, after reading programming books and forums, writing the code during his summer vacation and sending mail shots to the tech press to get coverage.

Originally released as "Trimit," Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka Shing took notice and invested in the company, helping D'Aloisio fine-tune it. In January 2012, the teenager first met Marissa Mayer at the Digital-Life-Design conference in Munich, Germany. Later in the year the two met again to discuss the possibility of Yahoo buying Summly.

D'Aloisio explained in an interview with Forbes it wasn't the money that led him to agree to the deal, but rather it was the opportunity to build a big platform in technology that was so exciting to him as an entrepreneur.

"As a founder of a company you want to still have the leadership vision and I want to bring my technology here and Yahoo is hiring people," he said. "It's a good time to go to this company, when they're trying to grow and rejuvenate. That's what excited me."