Meanwhile, he was being ferried around the globe to tech conferences, getting introduced to other potential investors. D'Aloisio made a remarkable impression on everyone he crossed paths with. 'He has an eerie maturity,' says Andrew Halls, headmaster of the King's College School in Wimbledon, which D'Aloisio has attended since he was 11. 'He has an extraordinary articulateness in the face of situations that, for me, even as a 54-year-old, might be terrifying.'
The Amsterdam crisis began when a Dutch group known as the Seppenwolde syndicate made a big, contrarian bet on the shares of East India Company. Those shares had plunged in 1771 mainly because of losses in Bengal, but the company kept paying high dividends and covered up its shortfalls by borrowing money. Convinced that East India shares would quickly rebound, the Seppenwolde group aggressively bought them on margin. But instead of rebounding, the shares fell even further after the company slashed its dividend.