Nick D’Aloisio, the London schoolboy who sold his news-gathering app Summly to Yahoo for an undisclosed sum this week, was first advised by his lawyer mother.
Diana D’Aloisio, senior solicitor at Domestic and General, was instrumental in Summly’s early success. The commercial lawyer, who trained in Australia, told Lawyer2B: “Absolutely, in the early days I set up his company and did his commercial contracts. When it got serious with the investment from the Hong Kong investors, we then used DLA Piper. Squire Sanders took over for the US incorporation and to date and the rest is history.”
Squire Sanders teams in London, Cleveland and San Francisco advised on the sale to Yahoo, which was represented by Latham & Watkins. London tax partner Peter Morley said: “We’ve acted for the company since some initial investment 18 months ago. It is unusual to have a client so young but Nick is a very intelligent and eloquent individual – in many ways it is no different to working with much more experienced clients but it did add a unique aspect.”
When asked whether she would advise her son to enter the legal profession, D’Aloisio demurred saying: “I would just want him to continue doing what he clearly enjoys doing and is good at and with the opportunities now at Yahoo and beyond who knows where he will end up.”
She added that she felt her son was “an inspiration to the younger generation” and that his success demonstrates “that opportunities are around no matter what profession or route; it takes ideas, persistence and hard work above all else.”
D’Aloisio reportedly sold Summly for between £20m and £40m although proceeds will be kept in a trust fund. The free app summarises news stories for mobile use; D’Aloisio first thought of the app while using Google News for research and finding it unwieldy and time-consuming.
Last year, Yahoo’s in-house legal team partnered with Bird & Bird to support Prime, the profession-wide initiative to improve social mobility (21 September 2012).