15 Best Minimum Viable Product Examples to Inspire Your Product Development

MVPE: sample digital product sketch

Launching a polished product without testing if it meets your audience’s needs is like shouting into the void and hoping for a response.

Surprisingly, about 90% of startups fail for this very reason.

Many dedicated extensive time, effort, and resources to developing an app only to see it struggle because it didn’t resonate with their intended audience.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can sidestep this common pitfall by creating a minimum viable product (MVP).

MVPE: quote defining what an MVP is

An MVP allows you to test your concept in the real world, gather authentic user feedback, and make informed decisions based on data. Think of it as a safety net that enables you to refine your product before committing fully.

Many successful companies started with an MVP to validate their concepts. They used early feedback to iterate and improve, ensuring their final product met the market’s needs.

In this post, I’ll share some brilliant MVP examples and the strategies these industry leaders use to turn their visions into successful businesses. Read on to pick up valuable insights for crafting a winning product that meets market demands.

Table of Contents

What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

What an MVP is not?

15 Real-Life MVP Examples That Evolved Into Major Success Stories

    1. Amazon

    2. Vello

    3. Uber

    4. Roamni

    5. Airbnb

    6. Wine Valet

    7. Dropbox

    8. Pinch

    9. BuzzMe

   10. Buffer

   11. Spotify

   12. Foursquare

   13. Groupon

   14. AngelList

   15. Zappos

8 Effective MVP Strategies for Launching Your Product

How to Build a Winning MVP

What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

MVPE: how to build an MVP infographic

Source: Inflective

A minimum viable product (MVP) is the initial version of a product that includes only the essential features required for it to work as intended.

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

An MVP should be made for a specific group of users. Knowing who you are building for helps ensure your product meets their needs well right from the start.

🚀 Address a key problem or need that users have

The MVP should solve an important problem or fulfill a critical need that users have. This is the only reason why people would want to use your product.

🚀Help the development team know exactly what to build

An MVP gives the developers clear direction on what features to prioritize. This avoids confusion and makes sure they build what’s most important first.

🚀Avoid spending extra money on unnecessary features

An MVP must focus on just the core components needed to test and improve the product. This saves money and time, making the development process more efficient.

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.

What an MVP is not?

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, let me discuss what is NOT an MVP.

❎ Creating an MVP doesn’t mean 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 is not the same as a Minimum Marketable Product
Software developers use an MVP 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 is not a 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.

A POC is more focused on demonstrating an app idea’s feasibility from an engineering or technical point of view. It’s like trying a new engine in a prototype car to see if it’ll work.

In contrast, an MVP is primarily meant to test the viability of an idea by getting potential users’ perspectives and feedback. It’s when you release a basic version of the car to real users for feedback to improve the final output.

❎ MVP is not a rough draft
Although an MVP doesn’t include all the 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 addressed the common misconceptions about minimum viable products, let’s discover some big-ticket MVP successes in tech and business.

15 Real-Life MVP Examples That Evolved Into Major Success Stories

At Appetiser, we’re fond of hearing and telling startup success stories. Here are some of the best minimum viable product examples from brands that have made incredible impacts:

1. Amazon

MVPE: Amazon as MVP example

Source: Altar

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 who 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 $574 billion in 2023.

Do you also have a groundbreaking app idea? Appetiser has a wealth of experience growing businesses from zero to multimillion-dollar brands — all by starting with a world-class app design.

2. Vello

MVPE: Vello app screenshot

Another successful business with an excellent MVP example is Vello, a celebrity-fan social app and one of Appetiser’s app development Australia 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, Appetiser built him world class-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!

Check out Vello’s case study to learn more about their exciting app growth journey.

3. Uber


Source: Medium

In 2009, Uber launched as “Ubercab,” a scrappy MVP available exclusively on iPhones and SMS, confined to San Francisco. The founders’ vision was simple yet revolutionary: connecting drivers with passengers needing a ride. This initial version allowed Uber to test the waters and gauge market interest.

As user demand surged, Uber swiftly evolved. They integrated GPS for precise location tracking, introduced real-time driver monitoring, and implemented new features like ratings and reviews to enhance user trust and satisfaction. Each iteration was informed by valuable feedback from early adopters, propelling Uber to refine its service and expand globally.

Today, Uber is a testament to the power of starting small and iterating based on user insights. From its humble MVP beginnings, Uber has grown into one of the world’s most prominent ride-sharing platforms, revolutionizing urban transportation and setting a benchmark for innovation in the tech industry.

4. Roamni

MVPE: Roamni app screenshot

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.

5. Airbnb

MVPE: Airbnb MVP

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.

6. Wine Valet

MVPE: Wine Valet landing page

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.

7. Dropbox

Source: Gordon Yu (YouTube channel)

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.

Dominate the App Store.

Get the latest industry news first.

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.

8. Pinch

MVPE: Pinch app screenshots

Pinch is an innovative app designed for capturing, creating, and sharing life’s memorable moments with ease. It allows users to seamlessly weave photos and videos into cohesive stories.

Claire Fitzsimons founded Pinch after experiencing frustration during a holiday, envisioning a platform where loved ones could easily collaborate on media from special events. Knowing the market dominance of giants like Instagram, she focused on creating a solution for problems that aren’t addressed by the existing options.

She envisioned a platform that would preserve original media quality, offer multi-user editing capabilities, and integrate social and camera functionalities cohesively.

Partnering with our team at Appetiser, Claire initially tested basic functionalities to validate the concept, refining features based on early user feedback. This iterative approach allowed Pinch to grow its user base rapidly, becoming a favored tool for collaborative media sharing despite competition from larger platforms.

Claire’s commitment to refining Pinch from its early stages underscores the importance of starting with a focused MVP to navigate and succeed in competitive markets.

By initially testing their idea with an MVP, Pinch not only proved its appeal but also set the stage for rapid development and expansion.

9. BuzzMe

MVPE: BuzzMe app screenshot

BuzzMe is a web app created by Susan Vincent to improve how customers are notified when their orders are ready.

Instead of using traditional in-store buzzers or calling out names, BuzzMe sends notifications directly to customers’ devices, making the process more convenient for small businesses, restaurants, and cafés. As one happy user put it, “Why do we need to be shouted at to pick up our food?”

Susan originally wanted a text notification system, but she had to change plans due to budget and compatibility issues. Working with Appetiser, she developed a web app with push notifications instead, and left room for text notifications in the future.

This change allowed BuzzMe to launch earlier than expected, and its easy-to-use design was a hit right from the start. Since its launch, BuzzMe has received positive feedback and continues to grow, with plans to add more features and reach more users.

The BuzzMe story shows how starting with a simple, flexible MVP can help startups manage resources, get early feedback, and build a solid base for future growth and improvements.

10. Buffer

MVPE: Buffer MVP

Source: MLSDev

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, Buffer clearly had potential. The rest is history.

11. Spotify

MVPE: Spotify as MVP example

Source: Stfalcon

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 615 million users.

12. Foursquare

MVPE: Foursquare as MVP example

Source: Altar

Foursquare began with a simple idea: letting users check in at different places to share their locations with friends. This then-novel feature was engaging, as it rewarded users with badges based on their check-ins. As more people joined, Foursquare expanded by using the data from these check-ins to suggest new places to visit.

Over time, Foursquare evolved beyond just check-ins. They added features like city guides and personalized recommendations based on users’ check-in history. This transformation turned Foursquare into a full-fledged city guide, providing insights into popular venues and personalized suggestions for users exploring new places.

Today, Foursquare is a widely used platform with 16+ billions of visits monthly from 500+ millions of unique devices worldwide.

Their journey from a simple check-in app to a comprehensive city guide highlights the success of starting small with an MVP, listening to user feedback, and expanding strategically to meet evolving user needs in the competitive landscape of social and location-based services.

MVPE: Groupon MVP

Source: Altar

Groupon started with a straightforward minimum viable product (MVP) that helped local businesses attract customers by offering exclusive deals.

In the beginning, the founders didn’t have a fancy system to manage these deals, so they used WordPress, like a blog to post daily offers. This allowed them to test if people liked the idea without spending a lot on complex technology.

As more people started using Groupon and liking the deals, the founders improved their website. They created a better system to handle deals and manage customers, making it easier for businesses to join and offer discounts. This growth helped Groupon become popular quickly and connect millions of consumers with local shops and services.

Today, Groupon is a big name in online discounts, helping people find deals from local businesses around the world. Their journey from a simple blog-like setup to a major online marketplace shows how starting small and listening to what customers want can lead to big success.

14. AngelList

MVPE: AngelList MVP

Source: Altar

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.

Initially, the platform relied on its founders’ personal networks to facilitate introductions between entrepreneurs and potential investors. This minimalistic approach allowed AngelList to validate its concept effectively and gain initial traction without extensive development or financial investment.

As AngelList demonstrated its value proposition and gained momentum, it gradually expanded its platform’s capabilities. They introduced features like automated matching algorithms and simplified investment processes to improve user experience and scalability.

These enhancements made it easier for startups to find funding and for investors to discover promising opportunities, driving the platform’s growth.

Today, AngelList boasts a user base of over 10 million and manages nearly $1.8 billion in investments.

Its evolution from leveraging personal connections to becoming a pivotal player in startup fundraising underscores the effectiveness of starting with a focused MVP and iterating based on user feedback.

15. Zappos

MVPE: Zappos MVP screenshot

Source: Altar

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.

Countless other MVP-powered businesses 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.

8 Effective MVP Strategies for Launching Your Product

The following MVP templates are good to note in case you’re out to launch your product to the market:

1. Product design: Best for refining product’s features and functionality

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.

2. Landing pages: Best for testing market interest and collecting early sign-ups

A landing page is essentially a webpage that encourages visitors to perform a desired action.

An attractive and professional-looking landing page can 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.

MVPE: PointsBet landing page

3. Demo videos: Best for showcasing product value and functionality

A demo video describes what a product does in detail.

It shows how your product works, what functions it will have, and what user needs it will address. A great demo video also 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.

4. Piecemeal MVP: Best for launching quickly

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. It involves building and launching a product incrementally, feature by feature.

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 app development experts recommend using the piecemeal MVP when introducing an idea on a tight budget.

5. Wizard of Oz: Best for service-based startups

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 startups offering personalized services that want to understand user needs firsthand.

6. Concierge: Best for validating app-market fit

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 and then collect user feedback on them. Based on the input, you then work on automating your processes. This strategy is best for testing whether an app is relevant to market needs.

7. Crowdfunding: Best for validating demand and securing early funding

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.

8. Software prototypes: Best for demonstrating core functionalities and UX/UI concepts

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.

How to Build a Winning MVP

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:

1. Identify your target audience

You need to know who your target audience is before building anything. This will help ensure that your product meets their needs and wants.

Here are some of the most basic factors you need research to define your ideal users:

  • Demographics. Understand the basic characteristics of your potential users such as age, gender, income level, education, occupation, and location.
  • Behaviors. Analyze how your target audience behaves online and offline. This includes their purchasing habits, media consumption, social media usage, and interaction with similar products or services.
  • Needs and pain points. Identify the specific problems or challenges your target audience faces that your product can address. What solutions are they currently using, and how satisfied are they with these solutions?
  • Preferences and expectations. Know what features, functionalities, and user experience elements your audience values most in products similar to yours. This helps in prioritizing development efforts.
  • Feedback and reviews. Look at feedback, reviews, and discussions on forums, social media, and review websites related to similar products. This provides insights into what users like and dislike, and areas where competitors may be falling short.
  • Competitor analysis. Study your competitors to understand who they are targeting and how successful they are in meeting their audience’s needs. Identify gaps or opportunities where your product can differentiate itself.

2. Define your core functionality

What makes your product unique? What key features should it have? Ensure the answers align with your identified target audience’s needs and wants.

The MoSCow method is one of the best ways to determine which features to keep and which ones to reject (at least initially).

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.

MVPE: MoSCow Analysis infographic

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.

I encourage you to also check out our related article for more in-depth insights: How to Prioritize Product Features: Avoid Mistakes, Unlock Success

3. Prototype your MVP concept

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.

4. Test early and often

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.

5) Implement and iterate

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.

Create an MVP to be the MVP in the long run

Building a minimum viable product is the smartest way to bring your vision to life, especially in a fast-evolving app development market.

It allows you to validate your business 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!

Dominate the App Store.

Get the latest industry news first.

Roamni Case Study
How Jason & Greg Built an App Worth Over $5 Million
  • How to Get $100,000s in Funding for Your App
  • What Makes a Profitable and Successful App
  • 7 Critical Entrepreneurial Lessons From Jason and Greg
  • How to Create Apps that Get People Hooked