Did you know, according to most statistics, up to 90% of startups fail?
These startups build and launch a final product without checking whether it’s a viable solution for their target audience. They made the mistake of assuming people care enough about their problem to pay for a solution to it.
That’s where they went wrong.
You must create a minimum viable product (MVP) to test user reactions to your solution. It’s how your business will survive — and thrive. Many bigshot companies today built an MVP concept before getting insightful customer feedback to justify their business idea.
In this post, I’ll discuss a few brilliant minimum viable product examples and the common strategies leaders use to make their businesses successful.
A minimum viable product (MVP) involves creating the first form of a product with just the core components needed to perform its core functionality.
Think of it like this: Minimum means limited features, and Viable means they are enough for the product to function properly.
Therefore, MVP product development doesn’t have to be complicated. It should simply:
- 🚀Serve a target audience
- 🚀Solve a primary issue
- 🚀Present the development team with a better understanding of what to build
- 🚀Eliminate the risk of adding undesirable features, thereby spending less money on development
In a nutshell, an MVP product is released to users to test features and get feedback for further improvement.
Founders use it to assess how their target audience feels about an idea. If the idea has potential, they develop the next version using the collected feedback.
Sounds a bit abstract? Let me clarify by providing an example.
First-time tech company founders James Gallagher and Zenita O’Neill wanted to start their own innovative app business in the food and hospitality sector.
But James and Zenita got delayed because they tried to make their app as user-friendly as possible. They eventually partnered with us and realized that the best way to make a new app is to get started with basic features, test the app, and iterate based on user feedback.
Eventually, James’ and Zenita’s app grew and even formed partnerships with Australian beverage giants. Check out our case study to learn how their MUCUDU app has revolutionized the way bars and their patrons connect.
Validation, speed-to-market, and basic features are the key terms that define an MVP. But does this mean an MVP is the same as a test product? Does making MVPs justify speeding up production through workflow shortcuts?
To clear the fog on this matter, let me discuss what is NOT an MVP.
Allow me to debunk some of the most common myths or misconceptions about an MVP:
❎ Creating an MVP ≠ cutting corners
Although MVPs help speed up and lower the cost of software development, they still should be well thought-out, tested, and successful in meeting customer demands before being introduced into the market.
Remember, a minimum viable product cannot exist independently of future iterations. It should be scalable enough to help inform subsequent development and product decisions. Scalable MVPs enable businesses to expand exponentially while managing expenses.
❎ MVP ≠ Minimum Marketable Product
An MVP is used by software developers during the development cycle to quickly test features, analyze feedback, and determine whether an idea is worth pursuing.
Meanwhile, a minimum marketable product (MMP) represents the early version of a product ready for launch to the general public. It is designed with the customer experience in mind and contains all the necessary elements to remain competitive and desirable for purchase.
If you have a good MVP, you can turn it into an MMP with minimal effort and through continuous improvement.
❎ MVP ≠ Proof of concept
While both a minimum viable product and a proof of concept (POC) aim to validate an idea, they are not the same.
An MVP is primarily meant to test the viability of an idea by getting potential users’ perspectives and feedback. In contrast, a POC is more focused on demonstrating an app idea’s feasibility from an engineering or technical point of view.
❎ MVP ≠ Rough draft
Although an MVP doesn’t include all features of a full-release version of your app, it’s more than just a rough draft. Rather, it’s a crucial element of your app development cycle.
MVP development must produce a product with the minimum set of features – not minimum quality – necessary for customers to start using and seeing the value of your app.
Now that we’ve got the common misconceptions about minimum viable products out of the way, let’s discover some big-ticket MVP successes in the world of tech and business.
At Appetiser, we’re fond of startup success stories. Here are some of the best minimum viable product examples from brands that have made incredible impacts:
One successful business with an excellent MVP example is Vello, a celebrity-fan social app and one of Appetiser’s app development partners.
AFL legend Ben Dixon’s top-rating social app began with a vision: to provide celebrities and their biggest fans a platform to connect. But, to bring his idea to life, Ben knew he first needed to raise capital.
The challenge was getting investors excited and on board with a pioneering concept. It was then that he approached Appetiser.
To help him realize his vision, we built him world class-app app designs that we later put together.
The result? A knock-out interactive prototype that netted Vello more than $1 million in investor funding and secured the partnerships of leading celebrity management agencies in Australia.
Today, Vello’s database includes over 1,000 high-profile celebrities, including Ricky Ponting and George Calombaris, and a combined fanbase of 150 million!
Read our case study to learn more about Vello’s exciting app growth journey.
Another brand that has used an MVP as its most powerful tool for success is Roamni.
App founders Jason Fabbri and Greg Curciosaw a need to solve a genuine problem: how to share, create, and experience local stories.
For such an avante-garde concept, Jason and Greg knew they needed more than a pitch deck to stimulate investors’ interest and engage early adopters. So, they turned to Appetiser for help.
In 6 short weeks, we created a design that reflected Roamni’s unique personality and a clear picture of the vision in action. The resulting prototype has allowed the startup to test the waters, make data-driven iterations, and deliver a superior final product in 6 months.
Shortly after hitting the market, the app witnessed overwhelming user reception and sparked the interest of world-renowned businesses.
Roamni is now valued at $5 million and recognized as the official partner of Formula 1 and the Australian Grand Prix!
Roamni’s inspiring app success story shows how MVPs can grow the seeds of simple ideas into fruitful digital businesses.
Wine Valet makes a great crowdfunding minimum viable product example.
After experiencing the frustrating challenges of finding restaurant wines locally, app founders Alain and Sarah came up with a breakthrough idea: use technology to tailor wine selections to one’s unique tastes.
But as first-time entrepreneurs with zero tech background, they needed a full-journey partner to help them turn their vision into a reality.
Fortunately, they found a team equally passionate about pushing the boundaries of innovation: Appetiser.
Soon after, we began working together to build an interactive design they could use to hype investors’ interests and support.
This collaboration resulted in a prototype that looked as smooth and refreshing as the wine they represented. It empowered the startup to breeze past its target on Birchal and earned the commitment of numerous investors.
Wine Valet proves that MVP designs are crucial in tapping investor grapevines to raise millions through crowdfunding.
Another brand with a great minimum viable product example is Dropbox.
Dropbox’s founders had a great idea to create online storage for files. They wanted people to get a feel of the app before the actual development process.
Instead of investing and building the hardware right away, they started with a demo video MVP. The simple video explained how the first iteration of their product would look and work.
It turned out to be a massive success as the number of signups increased overnight—without an actual product!
The experience of seeing the video was enough to sell the idea and collect feedback validating their product.
Buffer started as a series of landing pages before transforming into an app for scheduling social media posts.
Founder Joel Gascoigne created a landing page with just enough information describing what Buffer did. He wanted to gauge people’s interest before making it a profitable venture. He then promoted the first landing page on social media and asked viewers to fill up the signup form.
The positive response from the signups encouraged him to create another landing page with pricing information to understand how much people were willing to pay for the app.
With many people signing up for the paid plans, it was clear Buffer had potential. And the rest is history.
Zappos is a famous example of the Wizard of Oz minimum viable product strategy.
In 1999, founder Nick Swinmurn tested the hypothesis that people were ready to buy shoes online before trying them out.
He went to local shops, took pictures of shoes he wanted to sell, and placed them on his website, Shoesite.com. If anyone placed an order, he would go to the store, buy the pair and ship it over.
When people started making purchases, Swinmurn discovered consumers liked this model a lot. This prompted him to develop his website, rebranding it as Zappos. It became a huge success and was later acquired by Amazon in 2009 for $1.2 billion.
Source: Wayback Machine
Airbnb first started as a concierge minimum viable product.
After moving to San Francisco, product designers Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia realized their loft apartment rent was too steep for them.
That’s when they came up with a solution: opening up their apartment for short-term rental to attendees of a nearby conference to earn extra income.
They created an MVP of nothing more than a website, uploaded photos of their apartment, and found paying guests almost immediately.
Their initial goal was to make some extra cash, but they quickly realized there was a market for people who wanted to rent their homes.
From there, the platform grew and is now a roaring success.
Speaking of success…
Reading about the best practices for building successful mobile or web apps written by one of our founders could start your journey toward digital business success.
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Foursquare is a location-based social network that started with just one feature: users could check in at different locations.
It had a process that rewarded people with badges based on the amount and type of check-ins. Then, as their user base grew, they added recommendations, city guides, and other features.
Today, Foursquare has become a full-fledged city guide with over 9 billion monthly visits from 500M unique devices.
Groupon began as a piecemeal minimum viable product that promoted the services of local businesses. It was presented as a marketplace with exclusive offers and deals from local restaurants, agencies, and retailers.
At first, the app’s founders couldn’t build their content management system (CMS), so they used WordPress to post daily deals as blog posts. This allowed them to test their model without spending resources on the back-end infrastructure.
Uber was launched in 2009 as an MVP app called “Ubercab.” It used to work only on iPhones and SMS in one location, San Francisco. The original idea from the founders was to pair drivers with people who wanted a ride.
The MVP helped them test their ride-sharing idea in the market. Then, as their user base grew, they added more features like GPS integration, real-time driver tracking, ratings and reviews, and more.
The result? Uber is among the most popular ride-sharing apps in the world.
Another app that makes a great MVP example is AngelList.
The job and investment platform aimed to help startups connect with investors and raise capital.
It started small, using its team’s contacts to connect founders and investors. The site only scaled when they saw their vision had potential.
AngelList has since expanded to over 10 million users and has almost $1.8 billion in assets under management (AUM).
Amazon is one of the most popular MVP examples.
It’s common knowledge that the e-commerce giant began as an online bookstore. When Jeff Bezos started his company, he bought books from distributors and shipped them to customers that placed orders online. He did this to test whether people would buy books on the internet.
The initial website was built with a basic design with only the core features to reduce product development costs. Seeing the volume of book sales, Bezos kept adding more books to the store and acquired warehouses, eventually blossoming into the mammoth of a platform it is.
Today, Amazon is the gold standard in the e-commerce niche, generating global revenues of more than $500 billion in 2022.
Hit us up, and let’s have a chat.
In the 2000s, people downloaded music through pirate sites. But it didn’t take long before these sites faced strict regulations and were eventually shut down.
It was then that Spotify co-founders Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon came up with the idea to offer a music streaming service. They developed an MVP and tested it with family and friends before presenting it to a larger audience.
Today, Spotify is a global on-demand music, video, and podcast streaming giant with more than 422 million users.
That’s a long list of successful MVP-driven companies. With the right partner, you could be next in line. If you have an original idea for a new app or want to scale your organization through apps, drop us a line and let’s talk about your game plan for success.
There are countless other MVP-powered businesses that didn’t make it to our list. But regardless of what they came up with, their MVPs mostly boil down to just eight strategies. Read the next section to learn more.
The following MVP templates are good to note in case you’re out to launch your own product to the market:
Product design as a minimum viable product is particularly valuable for software, mobile apps, and tech tools.
You can implement MVP in various ways, like a sketch (simple design done by hand or with a tool), a wireframe (shows the location of system elements, user experience, hierarchy, and navigation), or a mockup (demonstrates precisely how your product will work.).
Going back to product design, it’s your best bet as an MVP if you want to build a dedicated audience for your solution faster.
A landing page is essentially a webpage that encourages visitors to perform a desired action.
An attractive and professional-looking landing page can effectively spark interest in a product idea. You can hire a graphic designer to create one or use a landing page builder for the best results.
Aside from being visually appealing, a good landing page must provide vital information about your product and links to request more information.
This app marketing strategy is commonly used to gauge interest in a new product or service quickly.
If few visitors click the links on the landing page, there’s no need to continue with the product’s development.
A landing page is just a component of many websites. At Appetiser, we’ve successfully built not just landing pages but also whole websites. Our collaboration with PointsBet enabled the startup to penetrate the U.S. market through growth-enhancing website design and content marketing.
A demo video describes what a product does in detail.
It shows how your product works, what functions it’ll have, and what the user needs it’ll address. A great demo video lets you ask your targeted audience if the solution you provide meets their needs.
Making a video is generally more cost-effective than building an app. Videos make a great pre-launch marketing tool, too.
A Wyzowl study found that 69% of consumers prefer learning about a new product or service through a short video.
If you want to present your app idea to potential users and investors without spending irrationally, consider using a demo video to validate your business concept.
Our video marketing hack for startups is a good read if you want to leverage video to exponentially grow your business or organization.
The piecemeal minimum viable product allows you to test your idea using existing tools and services in your project.
Piecemeal MVP is a collection of mini-features designed to gather customer feedback to improve the overall product.
Instead of creating one product, you break its features into smaller pieces and test them individually. You show the users one critical function that solves a fundamental problem.
This helps reduce risk while allowing you to get user feedback early in the development process.
Our Sydney app development experts recommend using the piecemeal MVP when introducing an idea on a tight budget.
This concept was derived from the “Wizard of Oz” story, where the scary green head was an old man hiding behind a curtain.
Like the story, an app with this MVP strategy looks completely functional from the outside. But in reality, everything is operated manually by humans or “wizards” behind the curtain.
This type of minimum viable product is also called “Manual-First MVPs” and is ideal for service-based startups.
Concierge MVP is almost like the Wizard of Oz MVP, but instead of making the user believe everything is automated, you let them know it takes a human to work (called a “concierge”).
Here’s how it works: You first provide services manually, then collect user feedback on the service. Based on the input, you then work on automating your processes. This strategy is best for testing if an app is relevant to the market needs.
This is a collection of minimum viable products by crowdfunding platforms. The essence of an app prototype crowdfunding platform is to enable you to receive donations before the release of the app or product.
Donation-based crowdfunding is one of the ways to raise funding without paying for things like principal or interest. For other innovative capital-raising schemes, check out our article on unique startup funding options.
Founders use crowdfunding to explore the place of their final product in the market through consumers’ contributions on these platforms.
Creating a software prototype is the most common type of MVP. It’s the first working product version to test your app’s viability.
If you have done some testing before and have support from the market, then a software prototype is a good choice.
From the strategic level, let’s now move to the tactical level of developing MVPs.
Here are the steps that have worked and produced incredible MVPs for many of Appetiser’s app development clients:
You need to know who your target audience is before building anything. This will help ensure that your product meets their needs and wants.
What makes your product unique? What key features should it have? Ensure the answers align with your identified target audience’s needs and wants.
One of the best ways to determine what features you should keep and which ones you should reject (at least initially) is through the MoSCow Method. It’s tempting to want ALL your favorite features to come out in your MVP. However, the MoSCow “filter” helps cut through the fat of favoritism and leaves you with a lean and mean MVP.
Source: Nielsen Norman Group
With the help of MoSCow and other similar methods, your MVP will have enough value for customers even as it maintains a minimalistic interface, functionality, and scope.
Based on your basic features list, create a prototype of your MVP using wireframes or mockups. These outputs enable potential users and investors to visualize what your MVP will look like when complete.
This also helps identify any issues before they become major problems during actual development, saving you time and money in the long run.
Get valuable feedback from potential users as early as possible to inform further development of your web, ioS, or Android app. Then, once you have data, analyze the results and use the information to refine and improve the initial design concept before coding.
Once testing is complete, begin coding and implementing your final design concept into a working product that meets your audience’s needs or wants. After launch, continue iterating based on user feedback.
In a fuzzy and ever-evolving app development market, building a minimum viable product is the smartest way to bring your vision to life.
It allows you to validate your idea and gain access to customer insights — two crucial decision-making steps — all while saving precious time and money.
Take it from us! This winning strategy has propelled the success of our numerous app development partners. Through our world-class design, many startups have grown into the biggest brands with millions of active users and generating billions of revenue.
Ready to build and launch your app? Schedule a consultation with our app development experts today!
Jessica La is a Content and SEO Consultant at Appetiser with 6+ years in the industry. If she's not writing and optimizing content, you can find her with a cup of coffee delighting in literature or sci-fi books.
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