Young entrepreneur backed by Ashton Kutcher and Stephen Fry sells Summly business to Yahoo!

A smartphone app first created by a 15 year-old UK developer in 2011 has been sold to internet firm Yahoo! for a reported £20 million.

Young British entrepreneur Nick D’Aloisio has sold his Summly app to Yahoo! and will now join the American business.

Summly, which was created by D’Aloisio at his home in London when he was 15, aggregates news by providing ‘snapshots’ of stories for use on smartphone devices such as the iPhone. D’Aloisio first taught himself to code when he was 12.

The business was first backed in September 2011 by Li Ka-Shing and Horizon Ventures through a $300,000 transaction. This was then added to when, in October 2012, Summly received $1.23 million from a large pool of angel backers including American actor Ashton Kutcher, former wife of John Lennon Yoko Ono, Tech City CEO Joanna Shields and British TV personality Stephen Fry.

In explaining the decision to sell his venture to Yahoo!, D’Aloisio comments, ‘After spending time on campus, I discovered that Yahoo! has an inspirational goal to make people’s daily routines entertaining and meaningful, and mobile will be a central part of that vision.’

D’Aloisio describes Yahoo! as a ‘perfect fit’ for Summly. Despite the app closing, the entrepreneur be joining Yahoo! alongside his team.

‘We will be removing Summly from the App Store today but expect our summarisation technology will soon return to multiple Yahoo! products – see this as a “power nap” so tot speak,’ D’Aloisio explains.

‘With over 90 million summaries read in just a few short months, this is just the beginning for our technology. As we move towards a more refined, liberated and intelligent mobile web, summaries will continue to help navigate through our ever expanding information universe.’

Web search engine Yahoo! has suffered recently and has had six different CEOs since 2007. However, new chief executive Marissa Mayer, who took up the position in 2012, has introduced a number of new initiatives and has overseen a share price increase of around 50 per cent since joining.

Hunter Ruthven

Bernard Williamson

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

Related Topics

Venture capital funding