PALO ALTO (CBS SF) – A Silicon Valley entrepreneur was so committed to his startup company that he ended up living and working illegally on AOL’s campus in Palo Alto late last year.

“I’m Eric Simons and I’m the founder of a company called ClassConnect,” the young man explained the website he created, allowing teachers to share lesson plans. Simons told an educational symposium last year that he moved from Chicago to Silicon Valley to get his startup off the ground.

“I managed to convince a couple of my buddies to drop out of college to come join me and we were able to convince a couple of guys to invest in us,” he said.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Simons was accepted by ImagineK12, a tech incubator focused on new ideas in education. $20,000 in seed money materialized, allowing the startup to work at AOL’s Palo Alto headquarters. After four months, however, the money ran out.

But, instead of moving out, Simons decided to simply continue working and living on the campus. He used his still-active security card to eat in the building’s cafeteria, shower in the gym, and work late into the night.

After two months, he was caught by a security guard and kicked out.

Simons, now 20, told CBS 5 he did what he had to do to build his company.

“I couldn’t imagine going home and basically closing shop and saying ‘I’m done,’” Simons said.

According to CNET, Simons has received another $50,000 in venture capital funding and is now working out of a rented house in Palo Alto. Simons is still allowed on the AOL campus in Palo Alto, but for working only.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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