SUNNYVALE, Calif. , Tue Mar 26, 2013 — One of Yahoo’s newest employees is a 17-year-old high school student in Britain. As of Monday, he is one of its richest, too.
That student, Nick D’Aloisio of Great Britain, a programming whiz who wasn’t even born when Yahoo was founded in 1994, sold his news-reading app, Summly, to the company on Monday for a sum said to be in the tens of millions of dollars. Yahoo said it would incorporate his algorithmic invention, which takes long-form stories and shortens them for readers using smartphones, in its own mobile apps, with D’Aloisio’s help.
“I’ve still got a year and a half left at my high school,” he said in a telephone interview on Monday. But he will make arrangements to test out of his classes and work from the Yahoo office in London, partly to abide by the company’s new and much-debated policy that prohibits working from home.
D’Aloisio, who declined to comment on the price paid by Yahoo (the technology news site AllThingsD pegged the purchase price at about $30 million), was Summly’s largest shareholder.
Summly’s other investors, improbably enough, included Wendi Murdoch, Ashton Kutcher and Yoko Ono. The most important one was Li Ka-shing, the Hong Kong billionaire, whose investment fund supported D’Aloisio’s idea early on, before it was even called Summly.
“They took a gamble on me when I was a 15-year-old,” D’Aloisio said, by providing seed financing that let him hire employees and lease office space.