Meet Nick D’Aloisio, the 17-year-old British entrepreneur sensation who just sold his popular news-reading app to Yahoo Inc. for close to $30 million, instantly becoming one of the world’s youngest self-made technology millionaires.
It’s the classic Silicon Valley success story of a young software prodigy striking it ridiculously big. But this time it’s unfolding on the other side of the pond.
D’Aloisio, who taught himself to write software at the age of 12, built the free iPhone app Summly that automatically summarizes news stories for small screens in his London bedroom in 2011. He was just 15.
Soon he had backing from Horizons Ventures, the venture capital arm of Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing and big names such as Zynga‘s Mark Pincus and actor Ashton Kutcher. (He also found a mentor and investor in Stephen Fry. They made this fun promo video together.)
Before it was pulled from the app store on Monday following the announcement of the Yahoo deal, the app had been downloaded nearly 1 million times. It had deals with 250 online publishers including News Corp. and 10 employees in London.