We first met Summly, an application that summarizes news stories algorithmically, and its “boy genius” founder Nick D’Aloisio back in mid-2011. At that time, the London-based D’Aloisio was 15 years old — just barely old enough to legally have a Facebook account — and Summly, then called Trimit, was something he’d hacked together in his spare time.
A lot has changed since then.
Summly is now a full-on company that has raised more than $1 million in funding from a star-studded group of investors including Li Ka Shing’s Horizons Ventures, Betaworks, Mark Pincus, Matt Mullenweg, Brian Chesky, Stephen Fry, Ashton Kutcher, Yoko Ono and Lady Gaga’s business manager Troy Carter (along with many others.) The now 17-year-old D’Aloisio (his birthday is today) has put his formal studies on hold to focus full-time on Summly, which has six staffers and a partnership with SRI International, which pitched in with its machine learning and natural language processing expertise.
And today sees the launch of the latest, most fully-featured version of Summly for iPhone, an app that claims to “dramatically improve the mobile news reading experience.” It’s certainly a crowded space, but D’Aloisio and his investors are confident that this offering has an edge.
D’Aloisio stopped by TechCrunch while he was in San Francisco earlier this month, so we had the chance to have him give us a hands-on demo with Summly and talk about the new funding. Watch the video above to see Summly in action and hear D’Aloisio talk about why Summly is different from the Flipboards, Instapapers, and Pulses of the world, why cash-strapped news organizations will actually welcome Summly rather than shut it off, why he decided to jump into the business world now rather than wait until after high school, how Summly plans to make money of its own, and more.