A Letter from Vlada & Michał Bortnik, Founders
If you’re a longtime member of the Marco Polo community, you likely remember the Big Bet we made last year, when we rolled out Marco Polo Plus, our premium subscription plan. Our intention was to start becoming a financially sustainable business, admittedly, during a very challenging year.
As we approach the first anniversary of the Marco Polo Plus release, we share with you our heartfelt gratitude for what we have accomplished together. Thanks to you and your support, whether by sharing your candid feedback, using Marco Polo to stay connected, subscribing to Plus, or spreading the word, together we have built a solid foundation for the future of Marco Polo. Together, we have proven that a “built to be good for you” business can be a viable business.
Built to be good for you can be a viable business
When we declared our big bet, many thought that what we were up to was impossible. We so often heard that it would be impossible to have a social business that’s sustainable and has a “good for you” ethos at the core. After all, there are “so many ways to stay in touch” and all of them are “free,” which really means businesses that run on advertising and make money on data. And yet, today, thanks to you, we’re thrilled to say that Marco Polo has become a sustainable business, without compromising our promise of “good for you” technology.
The tide is turning. We’re seeing signs everywhere. The movie The Social Dilemma was the first documentary to become the most popular movie on Netflix. People are questioning Big Tech and their use of algorithms. We’re seeing that people are valuing (and willing to pay for) products like Marco Polo that are built to be good for you. This means choosing to use products that don’t use advertising as the business model, and companies that don’t put profit above the well-being of those who use their products. (In case you missed it, here’s why we don’t just sell ads.) We’re so serious about this that we even conducted a study to see if what we’re doing is working. The answer is yes.
Thank you! As a paid member, I’m really happy to support a place where I connect with clients, friends and family in a place where toxicity is eliminated. Every day I’m learning more and more “free” social media platforms have a high cost in terms of mental health and human interactions.” —Denise
What’s next: More ways to help you stay close
In keeping with our purpose, the free version of Marco Polo is and will remain a great ad-free way for you to stay in touch with the most important people in your life. We’ll also continually improve Marco Polo Plus and look for ways to make it easier and more convenient to nurture your relationships.
I think it shows your true heart when you say that you’ll keep a free simplified version for those who cannot afford it. All we really need is to see the faces of those we love, isn’t it? We were just going to keep the free version, but after hearing your explanation, we’re going to do our part to keep this app going. —Sarah
If personal connection is important to your business, we are investing in a new video coaching platform, Marco Polo Channels. Channels empowers coaches, teachers, and business leaders to make money doing what they love, by expanding their businesses through genuine connection. Read this to get inspired by a new generation of leaders who are changing the landscape of online coaching.
We are truly grateful to all of you for helping us prove that it’s possible to create a sustainable business that is built to be good for you. Thank you for spreading the word and helping us reimagine how we can nourish our relationships. Whether you’re a Marco Polo Plus subscriber, a Channels leader or member, or someone who is getting exactly what they need from our free app, you are why we come to work every day.
Vlada & Michał