AOL squatter launches his company -- no hiding out required

During the two months Eric Simons spent living at AOL's Silicon Valley offices, he was building ClassConnect. Now, the startup has launched at Claco.

Former AOL squatter Eric Simons. Eric Simons

If ever there was someone with an entrepreneurial spirit, it's Eric Simons, known to many as the AOL squatter.

As CNET was first to report , Simons spent two months last year living surreptitiously at AOL's Palo Alto, Calif., offices, surviving on the company's kitchen fare, using its gym and locker room, and sleeping on its couches. All while working long days building a startup as part of an education-based incubator that had its offices in AOL's building. Until he was caught by AOL security and thrown out of the building, that is.

At the time, Simons' fledgling company was called ClassConnect. It was designed to allow teachers to create and discover lesson plans, and to share them with students and other teachers. "Teachers around the U.S. and the world are asked to teach from a checklist," Simons told CNET at the time. "They're asked to teach the exact same thing...and they're all going and creating their own lessons. What we've built is almost a GitHub for teacher lessons. They can fork someone else's lesson plan and use that as a springboard."

Now, reports TechCrunch, ClassConnect has for the first time opened its doors to teachers, and has rebranded as Claco. In an interview today, Simons told CNET that five-person Claco plans on starting out its beta period looking for "quality teachers" to get the service off the ground.

Simons also told CNET today that Claco is still looking to close a round of funding, and has been slowly raising money in the interim.

About the author

Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.

 

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