Meet The World's Youngest VC-Funded Entrepreneur

Most high school students are busy studying, learning, drinking and doing drugs- things that we all did while still a part of those wonder years.

Every once in a while though, you will find a teenager that stands out from the crowd- more so than that Goth kid with all those piercings and black lipstick. One such teenager is U.K.’s Nick D’Alosio- a 16 year old that created the iPhone app now called Summly.

This London-based teenager received an email from Li Ka Shing’s Horizons Ventures (those that also invested in Facebook and Spotify). Horizons wanted more information about the news-summarizing app that D’Alosio had released about a month earlier in Apples’ UK App Store. D’Alosio has been building apps since he was 12- this was the first one that received so much attention.

“I had just signed on to Twitter and I was using their mobile app. The problem was, I noticed that I wasn’t clicking through to the full content--it took far too long to download and it just wasn’t optimized for mobile. I thought why not produce summaries,” D’Alosio says.

Horizon invested $300,000 last year into D’Alosio’s idea- enough money to allow him to demo his app to a small group of investors in December which led to funding from names like Yoko Ono, Mark Pincus and Aston Kutcher to name a few.

“News on mobile is fundamentally broken,” D’Alosio explains. “It’s not the personalization element that needs to change--it’s the content. A lot of start-ups are trying to solve personalization, but this is a step beyond that. People are just fundamentally not interacting with the content itself, that’s the issue. We’ve tried to algorithmically come up with a solution."

The algorithm works by selecting words from any given article that are essential to the message of the article and creates a summary that will fit perfectly onto the screen of the iPhone.

All that one has to do to read the article in its entirety is to simply swipe the screen. D’Alosio has so far invested $1 million in hiring scientist that will improve his original algorithm. Despite his early on success, D’Alosio wishes to complete his high school career and go onto college.

“A lot of people my age are doing what I’m doing. They’re doing tech, but they’re still in school. It just so happens that the Hong Kong people got in touch with me, but otherwise I’m just like anyone else my age,” D’Alosio says.
“I didn’t think I’d be able to build a company at all. I believed in the idea, but because I was so young I didn’t think that people would take it seriously.”

Paul Hudson | Elite.