Last November and December, 19-year-old entrepreneur Eric Simons, low on money as he built his startup ClassConnect, started living surreptitiously in AOL's Palo Alto, Calif., building. For two months, he slept on couches that he discovered were off building security's rounds.
Eventually, he was discovered and kicked out. But before that happened, he was living on a dollar a day and enjoying a prime Palo Alto address. Even if he had to hide to do so.
Simons was able to access the AOL building as a member of the Imagine K12 incubator program that was housed there. He had a badge that gave him access to the building, but even after his time in the incubator ended, his badge still worked.
AOL's building has a gym, and Simons used it daily, both to shower, and to store his few extra pieces of clothing in a locker.
An entrepreneur from an early age, Eric Simons started ClassConnect while part of the Imagine K12 incubator program. Now, he's received $50,000 in seed funding and has been able to move into a Palo Alto house.
AOL's Palo Alto, Calif., building sits on some of the most desirable real estate in Silicon Valley. Just down the street from famous Page Mill Road, the campus takes up a great deal of real estate and is home to incubators, Stanford's StartX program, and a number of AOL departments.
Part of Simons' reasoning for living at AOL was that he was out of money. But being inside the building at night allowed him to eat the food and drink the beverages the company makes available to its employees in its kitchens.
After getting his initial seed funding, Simons was able to move into a house in Palo Alto. But in order to offset some of the costs, he is renting out bunks in a bedroom on Airbnb and has fashioned the dwelling as a hacker house.