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Meet the world's newest multimillionaire

Last updated on: March 29, 2013 11:58 IST

Meet the world's newest multimillionaire

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Amrita Singh

For Nick D'Aloisio, it all started when he was revising for his history exams in the UK about two years ago.

When you see his pictures, you know he is a teenager. He just looks so. But he is an example of how fast one can grow up. Nick D' Aloisio, 17, isn't even through high school yet and he already has millions and a new job at Yahoo!.

The last four months, since he began talking to investors and companies to sell his mobile application company, Summly, have been the busiest in his life.

He has been jet-setting between the UK and the US to meet investors and to strike a potential deal. And now with the deal done, he has become the talk of the world overnight.

He made it to the front page of The New York Times, and almost every other newspaper and website in the world has carried his amazing story.

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Photographs: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

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For the founder of Summly, a news-reading mobile application, which was snapped up by Yahoo! for millions of dollars, this might be too much of attention. He wasn't even on Facebook, until last week. He created a profile only this Monday and his most recent activity has been to like Yahoo! and Apple.

In fact, Apple was among the first companies to see value in his innovation. It featured the prototype of his mobile application as one of its curated applications of the week. As a result, it got written about in a few tech blogs and then investors picked it up in London.

Among the investors in his company, which he started when he was 15, are Wendi Murdoch, Ashton Kutcher and Yoko Ono, among others.

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Photographs: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters
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It's not new for the tech world to throw up young investors from time to time. A few years ago, Brian Wong, the founder of mobile rewards company Kiip, became the youngest entrepreneur to receive venture funding.

Soon, a couple of other younger people came along, but Aloisio has broken all records.

Already, his Facebook page is attracting comments from parents urging him to "help them make their children as clever as he himself." Success at such a young age can have its fallouts. Wong, for instance, says he feels old at 21.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Kiip
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For Aloisio, it all started when he was revising for his history exams in the UK about two years ago.

"I was using Google and just realised there's all this information but there's no way to decide or evaluate what you want to read," said Aloisio in an interview after the Yahoo! deal.

Thus was born the idea of Summly. The technology he developed with Stanford Research Institute quickly summaries long-form content like news articles and condenses them into paragraphs, the idea being that it is easier to read short snippets on phone than full-length articles.

"The summaries allow you to deduce: 'Is this relevant for me?'. If you like the summary, you are going to like the full content," he says.

A lot of news-reading applications have attracted corporate attention in recent years. The social network Linkedln was said to be pursuing an app called Pulse earlier this month, but none has attracted as much attention as Summly.

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Photographs: Getty Images
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His age and the eight-figure pay check could be a factor. Many have called the pay check "outlandish".

But Aloisio doesn't want to make a big deal of it. People are "age agnostic", he says, and they are really interested in a good idea more than anything else.

He also says there is a lot more to Summly than just him. There is a big team, investors and so many other people beyond him.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Summly
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Aloisio is also not bothered by the questions being raised about the price paid for his product. "People are underestimating how powerful it is (Summly) going to become," he says. But before he gets sucked into the world of programming and algorithm full-time, there is a lot of work to be finished: he still has a year to go at school and make time for his friends and some cricket.


Photographs: Nadine Rupp/Getty Images
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