The story in the tech news of the last few days is the purchase of Summly by Yahoo for the sum of $30M, making the 17-year old founder Nick D’Aloisio an instant millionaire.
It sounds fairly simple.
The story they want you to believe:
Teen whizz writes cool app. App downloaded by millions. Yahoo gets interested. Teen whizz meets after school to agree $30M deal. Teen now rich.
The reality might be a little more useful.
The reality: Mentors and Advisors made this deal.
Horizon Ventures, the Hong-Kong based Venture Capital fund that is part of Li Ka-shing‘s empire spotted Nick D’Aloisio a few years ago.
He was a great coder, and presents himself well; he had a decent app.
Billionaire Li Ka-shing’s company Horizon put together a group of mentor/advisors for Nick – including Jonathan Ive, chief designer at Apple; other well-known tech and media names including actors Ashton Kutcher, Stephen Fry, Spotify’s Shakil Khan, Zynga’s Mark Pincus and Lady Gaga’s manager Troy Carter.
Together they shaped an unknown London geek into a cool dude and a $30M deal with Yahoo.
It was not the awesomeness of the app, it was the credibility of the mentors and advisors that made this deal.