‘MeetYourClass’ in a new kind of way

A startup founded by four Wolverines, including two CS majors, is changing the way college students connect.
MeetYourClass founders Jon Millar, Blake Mischley, Jonah Liss, and Kaleb Schmottlach walk toward the camera, smiling, wearing black "MeetYourClass" tshirts, outside of Michigan Ross.
MeetYourClass founders, Jon Millar (left), Blake Mischley, Jonah Liss, and Kaleb Schmottlach

When a Wolverine has an idea, you’d best take heed. But when four Wolverines put their heads together, brace yourself for something revolutionary.

Students Jonah Liss, Blake Mischley, Kaleb Schmottlach, and Jon Millar are the brains behind MeetYourClass, a platform that helps college students from across North America find friends, roommates, and campus resources in a Gen Z-friendly way. Launched in 2022, and named one of the most disruptive undergraduate business school startups of 2023 by Poets & Quants, MeetYourClass stems from one of many ideas that Liss (CS minor, Michigan Ross Class of 2025) and Mischley (CS major, Engineering Class of 2025) bounced off each other during freshman year: a caffeinated beverage.

“We actually successfully formulated it, but we had the lingering thought of ‘How will we advertise it once we make the beverage?’” Liss said.

MeetYourClass founders sitting together for a chat outside of Michigan Ross.
MeetYourClass founders Jon Millar (left), Jonah Liss, Blake Mischley, and Kaleb Schmottlach sit down for a chat.

The start of a social ecosystem

Ultimately making college students their first target audience, they began running Instagram pages for incoming students at the University of Michigan as a way to get free advertising for the beverage. Blown away by how much traction the pages were gaining in such a short amount of time, they went on to create hundreds more pages for other schools and were met with the same success. But there was one stumbling block: the amount of time it took to manage these communities. Looping in Schmottlach (CS major, Engineering Class of 2025) and Millar (LSA Class of 2025), they built a host of tools to automate the way the pages were run. From there, these social media communities evolved into an entire ecosystem: MeetYourClass.

It wasn’t long before the four business partners noticed that those who frequented the MeetYourClass website began to upload their photos and biographies—essentially creating a social profile. This prompted them to ask students to create a username and password, and from there, they built tools such as a roommate finder, a messaging function, and a discussion board. The result? A streamlined system that still integrates with popular digital platforms that students already know and love.

“There are other companies that pitch similar things, but generally, they’re started by ex-university administrators or ex-higher education consultants who are very good at navigating the world of higher education, but are usually pretty out of touch with the student side of things. So that’s where we’ve had to fill that gap, but we think it’s our biggest differentiator, too,” Liss said.

Set up for success

MeetYourClass has received grant funding from U‑M’s Zell Lurie Institute (winning $30,000 from the Michigan Business Challenge) and UpRound Ventures. MeetYourClass has also received guidance from the Zell Lab for Technologies (for product development), and Michigan Law’s Zell Entrepreneurship Clinic (for legal help), as well as additional funding from Ann Arbor SPARK and Techstars.

“The grant funding has really helped extend our runway by quite a large margin,” Millar said. “It’s allowed us to make a couple of hires, which will start pushing things forward and accelerating our growth and what we’re able to provide students.”

“If it weren’t for all of this support, I don’t even know if this company would exist,” Liss said.

‘An intrinsic need’

As students themselves, the four masterminds know how difficult the college transition can be. And with their finger on the pulse of their generation, they understand the importance of authentically engaging students where they are—social media. It’s no wonder they saw 170,000 account creations within the first year. Fast forward to today, MeetYourClass currently boasts more than 350,000 users across 1,000 schools—and a growing list of partner colleges.

“It’s almost like an intrinsic need when you’re going to college nowadays; you want to go to campus, have a roommate, have friends, and MeetYourClass enables that really easily for students,” Mischley said. “But throughout the whole process, we realized we were leaving out the biggest stakeholder, which was the university.”

A screen capture of the MeetYourClass homepage. The page includes a navigation bar, log-in options, and examples of the interface and resulting Instagram profiles.
The MeetYourClass homepage.

Piecing the puzzle together

Various challenges and trends across higher education seem to be fueling MeetYourClass’s overall purpose, which is to help universities build community, improve student experience, and drive student enrollment. Creating their own playbook with remarkable ambition, they seem to be onto something.

“Our ambition in working with schools is to partner with their enrollment departments,” Liss said. “Our social channels attract more attention to schools, and the MeetYourClass platform engages students throughout the enrollment funnel.”

And after pulling together some statistics from last year’s admission cycle, it was estimated that the platform introduced around 50,000 people to their first freshman year roommate, according to Millar.

“I’ve met people who met their roommate or other friends through us, so just the thought of having that kind of impact by introducing them to people that they’re going to be friends with for the rest of their life, or making their freshman year a positive experience, is pretty incredible to me,” Millar said.

A five-year forecast

As the company grows, the MeetYourClass crew is ready to make some tough decisions. But they hope to continue building the platform for future generations of students and preparing universities for current and future changes in higher education.

“I hope that in the next five years, we’re broken into the university market and there’s an established product that we can continue providing to incoming college students, and that allows us to continue working closely with universities to provide them with the best insights on how they can manage and engage with their students,” Schmottlach said.

Our projection? They’re Wolverines—what can’t they do?

This story was originally published by Michigan Giving and written by Anissa Gabbara. Photos by Marc-Grégor Campredon.