Yahoo! buys another startup, creates 17-year-old millionaire

Search firm to employ teenaged British inventor of news summary app

Tags: Mergers and acquisitionsSummly Inc ( KingdomYahoo! Incorporated
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Yahoo! buys another startup, creates 17-year-old millionaire Nick D’Aloisio created Summly when he was just 15. (Getty Images)
By  Stephen McBride Published  March 26, 2013

Yahoo! has pounced on another mobile startup, buying Summly Inc for tens of millions of dollars and recruiting its 17-year-old founder for an 18-month period, The New York Times reported.

Nick D'Aloisio created the news-summarising app from which his company takes its name when he was the tender age of 15, receiving venture-capital funding from Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing. Subsequent investors included Wendi Murdoch, Ashton Kutcher and Yoko Ono.

The Summly app runs on Apple's iOS platform and addresses the so-called "tl-dr" ("too long; didn't read") conundrum, by summarising blocks of text from websites to make lengthy content more accessible to a wider range of content consumers.

Commentators cite D'Aloisio's age and enthusiasm as factors attracting Yahoo! to Summly. Alongside youthful CEO Marissa Mayer, his presence will help sell the image of a reinvented Yahoo! that is putting mobile front and centre amid the surge in online content consumption through handheld devices. Mayer has led a number of acquisitions of mobile startups since her appointment as chief executive nine months ago.

While Yahoo! and D'Aloisio were tight-lipped on the exact acquisition figure, cites "several sources" as confirming a sum of $30m, split into 90% cash and 10% stock. Yahoo has said it will discontinue the Summly app in its present form and instead work on integrating the underlying algorithm across its entire app suite. D'Aloisio's role will likely encompass a consultative aspect in that project, but the teenager is contracted for 18 months only and reportedly still has aspirations of reading Philosophy at Oxford.

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