Published on May 26th, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria0
AOL Unwittingly Hosts Young Entrepreneur For Weeks, 20-Year-Old Lived and Worked in Palo Alto Headquarters
As now 20-year-old entrepreneur Eric Simons knows well, many tech companies in Silicon Valley have extremely welcoming campuses- so much so that for a significant time last year, the ClassConnect founder made one his full-time home.
Simons didn’t work for AOL per se, but he had key card access to the building through the Imagine K12 incubator- and lacking a place to live, decided that the campus with a gym, comfy couches, a laundry and free food was as good a place as any to hang his hat while he built his company.
CNET spoke to both the young businessman and the company about the situation, and Simons explains his reasoning in deciding to bunk at AOL and fly under the company’s radar:
“They had a gym there with showers,” Simons said. “I’d take a shower after work. I was like, ‘I could totally work here…They have food upstairs, they have every drink on tap. This would be a sweet place to live.'”
All good things must come to an end, however, and after an unspecified period shacking up with AOL, Simons was discovered snoozing on one of his three favorite couches, which he says were outside regular security patrols. And while he lost 24-hour access, the then teen was allowed to continue on collaborating on the campus.
Refreshingly, AOL isn’t barring Simons from the campus or getting a restraining order, and they even have a bit of a sense of humor about the whole escapade. David Temkin, senior vice president of Mail and Mobile for AOL, joked to CNET:
“It was always our intention to facilitate entrepreneurialism in the Palo Alto office — we just didn’t expect it to work so well.”
The AOL squatter has since secured some seed funding and rented a proper house in the area.