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The 17-year-old millionaire

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Teenager Nick D'Aloisio cashes in on an application he created at just 15 years of age, after Yahoo! spends $30 million.

March 27, 2013 4:51 by



Do you remember your biggest concerns as a teenager? What about your dreams and aspirations? Chances are, you’ve had many, but it’s safe to say that whatever they were, they weren’t even remotely close to those of a 17-year-old millionaire. And if they were, then Kipp is flattered to have you as a reader.

Nick D’Aloisio, a 17-year-old boy living with his parents in London, is the latest ‘tech prodigy’ to join the ranks of the elite after successfully selling Summly, a news app reader he began developing at the age of 15, to Yahoo! for an undisclosed amount (although the figure $30 million has been floating around).

Young D’Aloisio is a self-taught programmer, since he began at the age of 12, developing “gimmicky games” such as a treadmill app for your fingers. He says that after a couple of years, he decided to take a turn and focus on actually building a serious application.

Summly works by summarising news articles into 400-word summaries using an artificial intelligence algorithm that Yahoo! has clearly found irresistible. They haven’t actually bought the app itself, but rather the technology behind it – which will ‘soon’ be integrated in Yahoo!’s services.

With the help of SRI International, a Silicon Valley research and development firm that has an artificial-intelligence lab and an ownership stake in the startup, Summly was released in November 2012. It didn’t take others long to notice the app’s potential, because D’Aloisio says he was also ‘contacted out of the blue’ by Mark Pincus, CEO of Zynga and the investment firm owned by Hong Kong billionaire La Ka-shing, to help with the funding.

Soon after, the likes of Yoko Ono, Stephen Fry and Ashton Kutcher got involved, collectively giving him an approximate total of $1.5 million in funding.

At 17, Nick is reportedly the youngest person to ever receive venture capital funding; he’s made a name for himself and a fortune that could potentially last him forever. A senior vice president at Yahoo! describes him as an “exceptional talent” and he’s already achieved what most can only dream of.

We don’t know what his personal plans for the future are, but he said during a Bloomberg interview that what drives him more than anything – and incidentally what people should be focusing on more than the money – is being creatively excited.

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