Yesterday, Yahoo announced it bought a startup called Summly.
Summly made a news aggregation app.
According to All Things D, Yahoo paid $30 million – 90% cash.
$30 million isn’t much for Yahoo, which has more than $4 billion in cash (and access to much more).
But there are some elements to this deal that make even that small price seem strange.
Summly never really set the world on fire. It had fewer than one million downloads. Yahoo is shutting Summly down.
So basically, Yahoo is acquiring Summly’s talent.
Summly’s talent is basically one-person, founder Nick D’Aloisio. Yahoo is saying his job is to lead Yahoo more boldly into the world of mobile.
A source tells All Things D his job is to “be a great person to put in front of the media and consumers with Mayer to make Yahoo seem like it is a place that loves both entrepreneurs and mobile experiences.”
But D’Aloisio lives in London, which is 10,000 miles away from Yahoo’s Sunnyvale, California headquarters.
Also, D’Aloisio is 17-years-old. He still has to finish high school. Last year, gadget blog Gizmodo made him cry when it wouldn’t write about Summly. He’s supposed to lead grown-up engineers?
Finally, according to All Things D, D’Aloisio only required to work at Yahoo for the next 18 months. He’s already talking about getting into angel investing.
Again…Yahoo has $4 billion, and maybe throwing $30 million at a 17-year-old in hopes of seeming cool with the kids is a fine use of .75% of that money, or .12% of Yahoo’s market cap.
Certainly its a cheaper marketing stunt than a horrible ad campain like “It’s Y!ou,” which is how ex-Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz tried to accomplish the same goal.