The network was launched in October 2005 by two students from Berlin, Ehssan Dariani (CEO) and Dennis Bemmann, and was financed by the start-up investor Lukasz Gadowski. Since then they have collected an undisclosed sum of investments by the media group Holtzbrinck, the Samwer brothers (founders of the ringtone vendor Jamba!) and other investors.
In February 2007, SchülerVZ, another version especially for high school students with reportedly almost three million members, has been launched.
In January 2007, StudiVZ was sold to one of its investors, Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, a German publishing group which owns publishing companies worldwide, without the disclosure of any official figures. In February 2008 meinVZ was launched, another version for users who are not students.
StudiVZ provides several features for its members. Students are able to keep and maintain a personal page containing information including their name, age, study subjects, interests, courses and group memberships within StudiVZ. They have the option to upload photographs onto their personal pages. By means of the search function, former classmates, fellow students, learning partners or people with the same interests can be found. The latter are often organised in groups within StudiVZ. These groups have their own pages and a discussion forum open to group members. Additionally, StudiVZ provides a private messaging service for its members, including a birthday reminder for people on their friends list.