Schoolboy's app good news for teenagers

Nick D'Aloioso, creator of iPhone app Summly.
Nick D'Aloioso, creator of iPhone app Summly.

A former Australian schoolboy has launched an iPhone app after attracting US$1 million ($1.2 million) from tech-savvy and celebrity investors.

London-born Nick D'Aloisio, 16, who spent some of his early years in Melbourne and Perth, is living back in his homeland and this week the whiz kid has made the most of his school's semester break, as his creation Summly goes live.

The app, designed for Apple's popular smartphone, condenses news articles into three key paragraphs that fit on an iPhone screen, reports British newspaper the Daily Telegraph.

Users can customise news categories and select links to original articles.

"I designed Summly because I felt that my generation wasn't consuming traditional news any more," said the teenager.

"I was using Google and Bing and there were so many results to scroll through it was really inefficient So I built an algorithm that shared them and trimmed them.

Then it just transformed into the idea of: why not just summarise news in general?"

After developing a prototype last year, Nick received US$300,000 backing from Horizon Ventures, a private technology investment company owned by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing.

News of the support arrived on Nick's 16th birthday, making him one of the youngest people ever to attract venture capital funding.

The schoolboy has since found additional support from Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher, British screen celebrity Stephen Fry and Yoko Ono.

Nick's lawyer mother is a director of the company behind the app and owns shares on his behalf.

"The reality hasn't sunk in yet; I've just been focused on building the product," Nick said.

While dedicating a lot of his time to the app, Nick plans to continue his studies and hopes to branch into philosophy or history at university.


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