DateMySchool is the largest online dating platform specifically geared towards students and alumni nationwide. Columbia University classmates Balazs Alexa and Jean Meyer founded the company in November 2010 after a woman in the nursing school complained that her department was 90% female. They were in the business school, which was 80% male.
They realized that there was a bigger market – lots of students want to meet across departments and campuses, yet cannot do to differentiated classes and schedules. Failing to find a better solution out there for the problem, Balazs and Jean created DateMySchool.
Within one week 5% of Columbia’s student body registered. Their early success cued DateMySchool to expand to other Ivy League schools, and subsequently nationwide. Today, DateMySchool has 125,000+ users at over 1000 schools nationwide – over 30% of Columbia and New York University uses DateMySchool.
Balazs Alexa is a former consultant at McKinsey & Company. Balazs has worked with clients in both the media and telecom industries across Europe and the Middle East. He has also worked at OpenPlug – the creators of ELIPSStudio – and is a founder of Belanski Films, a distributor of Eastern European films. In 2011, he received an MBA from Columbia University.
Jean Meyer also received his MBA from Columbia University. He is the co-founder of Bankexam SARL. With four million hits a day, and an active community of 300,000 students, it is one of the largest players in online education in Western Europe. He has also designed software applications to price derivatives for BNP Paribas, the largest global banking group in the world.
Elite had the chance to talk to both Jean and Blazs about their burgeoning site:
So what was that moment like when you both both knew that you wanted to be entrepreneurs? Was this a lifelong passion to build businesses by yourselves, or a random moment where you realized you were good at starting a venture?
It is true that social networking websites, even in the last ten years have become cliche in their repitition. What inspired your idea that is now a variation of the "Dating Site"?
College has long been known as the place where anyone can start over from high school and be themselves. At the same time, we know so little about the person sitting in the desk next to us who could be from a completely different country. Why would you guys say college is the best place to start a relationship?
Does your algorithm differ from those offered by Match.com or eHarmony.com? Or is it the same model, just applied to a different demographic?
Now, I use NYU's facilities, and I'm no stranger to the stealth advertisement you guys have put in all the men's bathrooms. What is your general marketing plan? How do you build student interaction online when a campus is already so open and accessible?
What does success mean to you, and how do you attain it?
What advice would you guys give the entrepreneur looking to venture out with a social internet product? How can they be successful?
What is the biggest failure you guys have experienced and what did you learn from it?
Are there any side ventures you guys are moving into, whether through DateMySchool or another project?
50 years down the line, if you two have attained all of the goals you have at this moment, where do you see yourselves and DateMySchool?
Check them out at: http://datemyschool.com/
Aidan Sakiri | Elite.