17-year-old creates app that grabs attention

Massachusetts residents may have heard about an app, created by a 17-year-old British boy, that has millions of downloads so far and has gained the attention of Yahoo, who purchased the rights for an amount rumored to be around $30 million. The business entity selection is said to be based not on a desire to use the app in Yahoo’s lineup but rather to secure the algorithm that drives the performance.

Summly, the young entrepreneur’s venture into the app world, summarizes data from thousands of sources. The algorithmically-based summarizations make it easy for users to scan news or other information in a concise format. Yahoo is said to have “bought the math” rather than the app itself; in fact, the app has already disappeared from the iOS App store.

Experts are speculating that algorithms and math-based technology could be the next “bubble” in the technology world. Algorithms are what now power many common computer functions and search engines and are finding their way into the world of music, sports and medicine. Critics claim that history may repeat itself with huge buys of algorithms just as it did with wholesale acquisitions of websites, leading to a crash in technology-based companies’ worth.

Business owners who are considering acquisitions or investments may wish to consult a business attorney before committing resources to any venture. A business attorney may be able to help these companies make sound financial decisions, review contracts and close on important purchases. By consulting a business attorney, companies may find that they have more information about the repercussions of any major business transactions.

Source: NPR, “After Yahoo acquires Summly, is buying math the next tech bubble?” Steve Mullis, March 26, 2013

Source: Crunchbase, “Summly,” March 25, 2013