Today, we’re asking our community to join us on our journey to a sustainable future.
We’re making big changes to the app including launching a paid membership plan – Marco Polo Plus. This will allow us to keep Marco Polo running, so that we can continue to help nurture your closest relationships for decades to come. We’re also making hard decisions to move some of the extra features in the free app, like 2x, into the new Plus membership (see details here).
We’re a small team of 38 engineers and developers and designers and customer service folks. We’re also superfans of Marco Polo. We want Marco Polo to be ad-free and around forever. So, considering everything, now is the time when we need to make our business a sustainable one.
The magic of Marco Polo is something we want the whole world to experience.
Many years ago, we set out to build a video-first experience to help people stay close. A simple idea. Built with heart and hope for a happier world. Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that it would be adopted so quickly and passionately, becoming such an essential part of millions of people’s daily lives.
We never could’ve imagined what 2020 would bring, but here we are.
The magic of Marco Polo is something we want the whole world to experience. Forever. And because we refuse to sell privacy and personal data to the highest bidder, our unique, reliable, and free app needs to evolve. That means focusing our business on a membership plan, a business model that provides a lot of additional value for our most avid users.
Here’s how we’re going to do it…
With the launch of Marco Polo Plus, we now offer two awesome ways to use Marco Polo.
We created our premium Marco Polo Plus for the people who rely on Marco Polo every single day. We’re rolling it out with iOS users now; Android availability will be coming soon. We’ve built a premium product with many new features to help make your daily life with Marco Polo even more convenient and joyful.
Also, our free app is going to look and feel different. A few of the extra perks that many have come to love, like 2x and Photo Polos, will be behind the Plus paywall. For some, this change could be disruptive to daily activity. We apologize for any distress that removing these extra features might cause. But not having Marco Polo be a sustainable business would be even more distressing for the millions who have come to rely on Marco Polo as a lifeline to friends and family.
Our free app is going to look and feel different.
The free version of Marco Polo remains an incredible way to keep in touch across time and distance. The magic of face-to-face video communication, on your schedule, is available in unlimited form and for free.
These decisions have not been made lightly. In fact, we’ve been working on Plus for over a year – testing, iterating, debating our free offerings, and determining the tradeoff between how to serve our most frequent users, be a sustainable business, and provide a great free offering. Some will be understandably upset that we’ve moved previously free extra features into our paid plan. We hope our community understands that we wouldn’t be making these tough decisions if we didn’t think they were critical to ensuring Marco Polo is around for years to come.
Change is hard. That’s why we’re giving existing users the chance to switch back to their old version of Marco Polo until August 1, 2020, at which point everyone will be either on our new free version or members of Marco Polo Plus. See how here.
We think it’s worth investing in a company that is genuinely working to fight the epidemic of loneliness.
Listen, we can’t do this without our community. We are attempting to do something that no social network has ever pulled off successfully: building a sustainable business without selling personal data or showing ads. With the support of the incredible Marco Polo community and by continuing to evolve our Marco Polo Plus offerings, we know we can.
We are heartbroken as we live through one of the most mentally and emotionally challenging times we have ever experienced. That’s why we think it’s worth investing in a company that is genuinely working to fight the epidemic of loneliness.
We feel incredibly proud and grateful that we’ve had your trust over the years. And we’re excited to continue to invest in what you’ve entrusted us to do – help you feel close to those who matter most to you in a way that’s convenient and joyful. We hope together we can continue to build a place where nobody says “it’s so hard to stay in touch,” and nobody ever feels alone.