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Tech whizz who became millionaire aged just 17 sells his mobile app to Twitter

Mr D’Aloisio was just 12 years old when he started coding on the Apple App Store and by the age of 17, he’d built and sold his first app Summly to Yahoo for £21.73million

Nick D’Aloisio has sold his Sphere app to Twitter

An entrepreneur and tech genius who became a millionaire at the age of just 17 has sold his latest app to Twitter.

Nick D’Aloisio, aged 25, has struck a deal with the social media giant for his group chat app Sphere.

The company started as a real-time question and answer service where people could talk to experts.

Having launched in 2016, it quickly amassed 500,000 users in just two years by the end of 2018.

It then developed into more of a social media app and by 2019, had raised around $30 million from investors.

The latest version of the Sphere app – which splits users into group chats, each featuring a feed that can prioritise posts – was sold to Twitter for an undisclosed amount, along with its 20 employees.



Nick D’Aloisio was just 17 when he sold his first app for millions
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Image:

NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)




Mr D’Aloisio said he was inspired to start a chat service that could make speaking online less divisive, at a time where internet trolling is rife in social media.

Twitter this year introduced a prompt that warns users about the tone of their message and asks if they still want to post it.

It has also started testing a new safety mode that flags accounts using hateful comments.

Mr D’Aloisio told the BBC : “A lot of the messenger apps that exist are catered toward groups that already know each other.

“But with Sphere, the aim was to unlock new dynamics and bring together people around the world with shared interests.”

He added: “All groups have the potential to become genuine communities.



Nick D’Aloisio wanted to create a friendly social media space
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Image:

Getty Images)




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“But most groups suffer from problems in online communication that prevent community-building – things like awkward silences, conversations going off-topic, and vitriol.”

Mr D’Aloisio was just 12 years old when he started coding on the Apple App Store and by the age of 17, he’d built and sold his first app Summly to Yahoo for $30million (£21.73million).

At the time, the youngster – who lived with his parents in Wimbledon – said he wanted to buy a new pair of a trainers and a new computer with his windfall.

Having spent some of his early life in Australia, the successful Brit went on to study computer science and technology at Oxford University.

Mr D’Aloisio is now completing a PhD at the prestigious university.

It was also at Oxford where he met Sphere co-founder Tomas Halgas, also a student of computer science.

The sale of Sphere comes after Twitter bought news-reading start-up Scroll in May this year.


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