Yahoo! Continues To Attack Mobile, Buys News Gathering And Delivery Startup Summly, App Will Close

Yahoo! has picked up the pace on pretty much everything since Marissa Mayer became CEO, especially mobile acquisitions. Today, it announced the acquisition of mobile news gathering and delivery startup, Summly. AllThingsD reports that the acquisition price was somewhere close to $30 million.

The app itself is gorgeous, allowing you to skim and share news quickly with some really intuitive gestures. Summly’s founder, Nick D’Aloisio, is just 17 years old, and the company had raised $1.53 million from the likes of Horizons Ventures, betaworks, Shakil Khan, Matt Mullenweg, Troy Carter and even Yoko Ono. Summly was also working with News Corp on summarizing their content.

A Yahoo! spokesperson says that members of Summly team is joining the company in the next few weeks and that the app itself will close, which is a bummer for those who have been enjoying it over the past few months. The Summly service will be woven into of Yahoo’s mobile “experience,” the company said. This move has apparently been in the works for a while according to an article in December by AllThingsD.

Here’s what Yahoo’s Senior Vice President of Mobile and Emerging Products, Adam Cahan, had to say on its official blog about the deal, which is technically not yet complete:

Today, we’re excited to share that we’re acquiring Summly, a mobile product company founded with a vision to simplify the way we get information, making it faster, easier and more concise.

At the age of 15, Nick D’Aloisio created the Summly app at his home in London. It started with an insight — that we live in a world of constant information and need new ways to simplify how we find the stories that are important to us, at a glance. Mobile devices are shifting our daily routines, and users have changed not only what, but how much information they consume. Yet most articles and web pages were formatted for browsing with mouse clicks. The ability to skim them on a phone or a tablet can be a real challenge — we want easier ways to identify what’s important to us.

Summly solves this by delivering snapshots of stories, giving you a simple and elegant way to find the news you want, faster than ever before. For publishers, the Summly technology provides a new approach to drive interest in stories and reach a generation of mobile users that want information on the go.

Nick and the Summly team are joining Yahoo! in the coming weeks. While the Summly app will close, you will see the technology come to life throughout Yahoo!’s mobile experiences soon. So stay tuned!

Mobile devices are at the center of how we engage with the people, experiences and interests we love. Across Yahoo!, we’re focused on creating beautiful experiences that people are excited to use every day — products that inspire and delight. We can’t wait to work with Nick and the Summly team to do just that.

– Adam Cahan

(** A quick note from our lawyers: The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in Q2.)

Screenshot_3_25_13_6_18_AMD’Aloisio has posted a note to Summly’s users on its site:

In true Summly fashion, I will keep this short and sweet.

I am delighted to announce Summly has signed an agreement to be acquired by Yahoo!. Our vision is to simplify how we get information and we are thrilled to continue this mission with Yahoo!’s global scale and expertise. After spending some time on campus, I discovered that Yahoo! has an inspirational goal to make people’s daily routines entertaining and meaningful, and mobile will be a central part of that vision. For us, it’s the perfect fit.

When I founded Summly at 15, I would have never imagined being in this position so suddenly. I’d personally like to thank Li Ka-Shing and Horizons Ventures for having the foresight to back a teenager pursuing his dream. Also to our investors, advisors and of course the fantastic team for believing in the potential of Summly. Without you all, this never would have been possible. I’d also like to thank my family, friends and school for supporting me.

Most importantly, thank you to our wonderful users who have helped contribute to us receiving Apple’s Best Apps of 2012 award for Intuitive Touch! We will be removing Summly from the App Store today but expect our summarization technology will soon return to multiple Yahoo! products – see this as a ‘power nap’ so to speak.

With over 90 million summaries read in just a few short months, this is just the beginning for our technology. As we move towards a more refined, liberated and intelligent mobile web, summaries will continue to help navigate through our ever expanding information universe.



There’s some really interesting tech for Yahoo! to play with here. Summly, originally called Trimit, would pull together news and display the important parts for you to skim, thanks to an extraction algorithm. If Yahoo! can use this technology in its other mobile apps, it can get you to read more of its own content, which of course would have advertising littered on it.

The Summly deal follows Yahoo’s acquisition five days ago of social recommendation company Jybe and the former Yahoo employees that come along with it. As the Jybe acquisition proved to us, Yahoo! is acquiring teams that do heavy research in machine and natural learning, which goes to show you that Mayer is giving the company an intelligence facelift of sorts.

This is the third interesting mobile acquisition for Yahoo! since Mayer took over, the first being Stamped.

Here’s an interview that D’Aloisio did with TechCrunch back in November: