A British teen has struck it rich after selling an app for what is reported to be “dozens of millions” of pounds. Student Nick D’Aloisio from London agreed a deal with global communications giant Yahoo, which saw the company acquire Summly, a mobile app, designed to summarise leading news stories from popular online sources. The enterprising seventeen-year-old, who is now one of the richest people in the U.K., has also been asked to join the staff at Yahoo, marking the beginning of what is likely to be a stellar career in the digital industries.
The Summly app was created and launched by Nick D’Aloisio two years ago when he was just fifteen. Within months the teenager had attracted the attention of a billionaire venture capitalist, who invested one million pounds into the continued development of the app. Hong Kong based business magnate, Li Ka-Shing, who is currently ranked as the eighth richest man in the world, recognised the potential of D’Aloisio’s app early, offering his full backing (both in terms of financial support and consultancy).
The Summly app itself will now close, but the technology used to produce it will be integrated into new Yahoo products. Speaking to the press, Yahoo’s senior vice president of mobile, Adam Cahan, said that the technology utilised by the Summly app will provide web publishers with an exciting new method of reaching readers and disseminating their content. The approach of the app will ensure that the accessibility of news keeps pace with the rise of mobile internet, which is of particular importance to Yahoo.
Nick D’Aloisio’s massive success with the Summly app demonstrates just how vast the opportunities presented by contemporary technological change can be. In Nick’s case, he recognised that there was demand for a more sophisticated approach to accessing online news content from a smartphone or tablet device. In particular, he saw a need to increase the ease with which news stories could be perused before they were read, allowing people to quickly and easily find current stories that interested them. Creating an app that enabled this proved to be a highly rewarding venture and one that will no doubt benefit Yahoo’s already established offerings, as well as giving Nick the start of what will certainly be a hugely successful career.
The only downside to this (apart from the tinge of jealousy no doubt felt by the majority of readers!) is that the Summly app will no longer be available, leaving competiters like Flipboard to fill the void.
This isn’t the first time that a smartphone application has created a millionaire, and given the continued rise in popularity of apps and the modern proliferation of mobile technology, it’s no surprise to learn that apps have created a very real way for a new generation to earn a decent living.
One industry to see a dramatic rise in usage in the United Kingdom is smartphone gambling. A recent study completed by Juniper Research has suggested that smartphone gambling is in fact the fastest growing sector in the betting industry in the United Kingdom. A bold claim you might think, but the statistics are there to back it up, with smartphone gambling (via apps like the Betfair app, coupled with mobile browsing and responsive websites) rising a massive 32% between 2010 and 2011 and accounting for 15% of the entire UK gambling market.
So, it would appear that gambling and news dissemination are two areas with the potential to be extremely lucrative in 2013 and beyond for app developers; so if you are one such developer it may be time to aim at a new industry!
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