17 Year-Old Nick D’Alosio sold his Summly App to Yahoo! for $30 million. The app condenses news stories down to 400 words in a way that makes it easy, particularly young people, to get a sense of an article without reading the entire thing. In the video below, Nick says he thought of the idea when he was 15 and studying for some history exams in the U.K. He was using Google and became frustrated with having to wade through many long articles to find the information he needed. He reasoned that if there was a way to provide a summary of the articles, it would help people decide which articles to read.
Working with people like the Stanford Research Institute, Nick built an algorithm that automatically summarizes long form content into paragraphs. Yahoo! liked the idea so much they paid him $30 million dollars for the right to use it.
His investors include Hong Kong Billionaire Lee Ka-Shing, Ashton Kutcher, Yoko Ono and Stephen Fry among others. Nick says the investors liked the way the app addressed the needs of the younger generation who consume a lot of content on their mobile phones. The app has the power to summarize that content in a way that helps young users digest it much more easily.
Yahoo! has since integrated the app into its Yahoo News Digest feature. Nick D’Alosio went on to be named the Wall Street Journal’s innovator of the year and was featured in Forbes and GQ Magazine. His reception hasn’t been all roses however, as some have claimed he was born into a millionaire family, since his father is a vice president at Morgan Stanley. Nick’s privileged position, some argue, made it easy for him to find investors to pump money into his idea and top programmers to bring it into reality. Either way, the creation of the Summly app and its sale to Yahoo! for $30 million is no small feat.