Marco Polo is driven by one heartfelt purpose—helping people feel close. This purpose began to take form when we were starting our family. When our oldest daughter was a few months old, and our second on the way, we realized we wanted to model something special for the kids. We wanted to show them what it looks like to work on something personally meaningful, that also makes a big difference in the world. With new additions to our family, staying closely connected to loved ones felt more important than ever. Everyone wanted to see the kids, and watch them grow. We didn’t want to just send the occasional photo or text. We wanted the family to be part of our kid’s lives—many of whom live 5,000 miles away. Video calls weren’t a great option. We tried. With family spread across the US, and other parts of the world, weekends felt overscheduled—coordinating different time zones was a challenge. It became like a barrier to feeling close, more like a chore.

At the same time, we were researching happiness and learned that having meaningful connections is one of the key ingredients to feeling happy. Ideas began to percolate. And before we even knew what we were going to create, the purpose of helping people feel close was born. The idea for the app soon followed. And after many iterations, our dream caught fire and Marco Polo became a reality that’s fulfilling that dream. Now, when we visit our family in Poland, our kids aren’t so shy. They don’t need a warm-up period. They’ve already spent hours on Marco Polo with the family, and loads of time with their Babcia (grandma) learning to speak Polish. Everyone is a familiar face because they see and talk to each other every day. We hope that Marco Polo brings you closer to your family and friends too.

Vlada & Michal Bortnik

Joya Communications is the parent company of Marco Polo