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Remember the AOL Squatter? He's in Business

From clandestine, to public

By Scott Budman
|  Monday, Oct 1, 2012  |  Updated 9:54 AM PDT
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Squatter Lived at AOL for Months

NBC Bay Area

Young entrepreneur Eric Simons lived inside AOL headquarters in Palo Alto while he was trying to build a startup.

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Squatter Lived at AOL for Months

Young entrepreneur Eric Simons lived inside AOL headquarters in Palo Alto while he was trying to build a startup. The only problem: he didn't work at AOL.
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The last time we talked with Eric Simons, he was sheepishly -- but honestly -- talking about how he was escorted out of the building by a security officer after stowing away inside AOL's large Palo Alto offices for weeks.

No hard feelings, though. You almost got the feeling AOL appreciated Simons' entrepreneurial spirit and the 21-year-old simply put his head down and got to work. The result? He's now got a business, and it seems to be doing well out of the gate.

Simons' company is called Claco. The site aims to bring teachers together, social network style, to share lesson plans and tips. Simons says he already has many teachers on board. The company makes sense: so many other things (funding, dating, gaming) are networked online, why not education?

There's no question Simons is a hard worker. After wrapping up an incubator program inside AOL earlier this year, he realized that he had a lot of work to do to build up a company, but had nowhere to stay. So, he stayed at AOL -- working by day and blending in, sleeping on couches at night while hiding out. 

Until he was caught in May.

By then, though, Simons made enough progress to get a little bit of funding, and he was off to the races in a small rented house in Palo Alto.

On Claco's website, Simons confessed he was a teacher's "worst nightmare" as a student because he couldn't focus on school and has slept on "a lot of couches" in his time.


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