When I was 17 years old, I had a government class where we occasionally had to summarize news events. I think I got a B in the class, which I thought wasn’t too shabby. Little did I know that if I had simply done the same thing in digital form, I could have sold the idea to Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) for $30 million. That’s what Summly founder and developer Nick D’Aloisio did earlier this week, and as soon as he’s done with school, he’s going to be working for Yahoo!.
The acquisition was huge for D’Aloisio, and it drove home Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s focus on partnering for mobile devices. Mayer has said, “Given that we do not have mobile hardware, a mobile OS, a browser, or a social network, how are we going to compete? I think that the big piece here is that it really allows us to partner.” Summly is a step in that direction, as the product is focused on making news easier to consume on mobile devices. Well done, Nick.
D’Aloisio isn’t the first kid to make it big online. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg is the face of youthful success, addressing investors while wearing his hoodie, and smiling like a kid on picture day in every company photo. In addition to being worth as much as a small nation, Zuckerberg, Mayer, and other CEOs have made a hobby of turning smart kids into rich, smart kids. Here are some other youthful millionaires, and the companies that they’ve helped.
The Instagram man
Last year, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) bought Instagram for a cool $1 billion. That set CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom up pretty well. Systrom spent time at Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and the company that would become Twitter before forming Instagram. His payout last year was reported to be close to $400 million. But so far, the value that Facebook has achieve from the purchase is cloudy, at best.
Last month, Facebook’s CFO David Ebersman said, “One of the services that is, I think, a quite formidable competitor is Instagram.” That’s an odd role for a product to play, and it’s unclear on how that competition is going to drive more income for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). While investors may have to wait for a while to see the final answer, Systrom has already reaped the benefits of the acquisition.
Selling the ability to sell
Nat Turner was just two years out of college when Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) purchased his Invite Media online purchase platform for $70 million in 2010. The company focused on selling advertising through third-party ad exchanges. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has upgraded the software since purchasing it, and recently started moving customers away from the Invite Media branding and over to the new brand — DoubleClick by Google.