The tech genius who made $30 million when he was 17 years old

Claire Reid

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The tech genius who made $30 million when he was 17 years old

Featured Image Credit: @nickdaloisio/Twitter/Shutterstock

A tech genius bagged an incredible $30 million at the age of just 17 when one of his ideas was snapped by Yahoo - I'll be right back, I'm just learning how to code.

British entrepreneur Nick D’Aloisio first got into tech at the age of 12 and decided to teach himself to code using Coding For Dummies with the hopes of launching his own app in the Apple app store, which he did in the form of ‘Touchwood’, a virtual piece of wood you could touch for good luck. 

From there he created other simple apps, including a virtual treadmill for your fingers - given the snappy name Fingermill - which he sold for around $89 (£79), but the real money maker came to him when he was 15, while revising for his upcoming exams. 

Nick D’Aloisio hadn’t even finished high school when he sold his app for $30 million. REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo
Nick D’Aloisio hadn’t even finished high school when he sold his app for $30 million. REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

He told The Times: “I was bored revising for history GCSE. I thought, ‘How can I make these long articles shorter?’”

He hit upon the idea of Trimit, an app that took longer articles and condensed the information down giving you a summary. 

The idea was a good one, so good that it came to the attention of investor Li Ka-shing who wired D’Aloisio $300,000 (£265,060) on his 16th birthday, no less.

Spurred on, D'Aloisio gave the app a spruce up and a new name - Summly - which led to more investors, including Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher taking an interest. 

Summly launched in December 2012 and was snapped up by Yahoo just three months later for a reported $30 million (which at the time was around £20 million). 

However, proving that he was wise beyond his years, D’Aloisio didn’t go wild with his new found fortune; he treated himself to a pair of trainers and stashed the rest away in a trust fund. 

 Nick D’Aloisio learnt to code when he was just 12. Credit: dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo
Nick D’Aloisio learnt to code when he was just 12. Credit: dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo

Not content with making more money than most of us will ever see in our lifetime, D'Aloisio was keen to continue in the world of tech.

And, in 2016, D’Aloisio co-founded a chat app called Sphere, which raised around $30 million (£26m) from investors between 2017 and 2019. 

Last October, Twitter agreed to buy Sphere for an undisclosed sum - although he told CNBC that ‘everyone is happy’ with the deal. 

So we can probably assume he was able to splash out on a new pair of trainers.

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Topics: Community, UK News, Technology, Money

Claire Reid
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