Our Story

In the fall of 2016, over a hamper full of dirty clothes, Poco a Poco was born. A lot has transpired between that fateful load of laundry and 36-hour bus rides across Central America, but the idea remains much the same.

After 15 years of friendship, Kyle and I had developed something of a convergent worldview: our podcast streams were eerily similar (we started referring to the hosts of Pod Save America as “our boys”), our copies of Shantaram dog-eared in the same places, and our appetite for curiosity equally insatiable. So, in the basement of our shared duplex in Denver, we started planning a surf trip, that turned into a passion project, that turned into a company.

If you can remember back to the fall of 2016, you might recall it as a sobering time. To us it seemed that, as we scrolled through our news feeds, we couldn’t escape confrontational and assumptive rhetoric. If for nothing more than sanity, we craved stories about doubt and triumph, about failure and perseverance - about the things that, most fundamentally, make us human.

After having polished off our most recent Netflix documentary binge and with a cup of extra-strength Tide in hand, we decided that, instead of waiting for these stories to come to us, we needed to go find them. So, with one camera, two microphones, and a few pairs of pants strapped to our backs, we bought a one-way ticket to Mexico.

Our journey started in Latin America because of both physical proximity to our home, and the polarizing coverage it receives. As two Northern California boys we thought - where better to start than our own backyard?

We were, and continue to be, inspired by storytelling that utilizes multiple mediums and unconventional techniques to not only captivate an audience, but deliver an authentic, unbiased message.

As for the name Poco a Poco - it chose us. In all of our interviews - with Honduran farmers, Guatemalan cobblers, deported migrants in Mexico - there was a common thread. When people talked about improving their lives, they acknowledged a process that happens poco a poco. And so, in communicating their stories to a wider audience, we hope to inspire change, bit by bit.


Mateo Schimpf



Kyle Hilken