If you’ve been in the startup’s ecosystem for a while, for sure, you’ve heard about Minimum Viable Product (MVP) approach. Maybe the MVP is the first thing any mentor would ask you about. They’ll ask: Have you launched your MVP? What’ve been the results? Here, we’re going to dig deeper into MVP and search for minimum viable product examples of the famous and successful startups to see how they implemented it in action.
What is the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and why we need it?
An MVP is a development technique spread by Eric Ries for building the first version of a product. Utopian mindsets usually lead Startup founders to create perfect products. This mindset underestimates the value of an incomplete product. They assume to be the best in the market and dominate the market, they must create the final perfect product and then release it, But they’re usually wrong! Why?
Because we don’t know what the customers are expecting from us. We’ve just got some hypothesis and ideas. We must put our ideas into action to get the results and optimize the product as it goes.
Minimum Viable Product is your basic idea wrapped up in the number of essential features. It is vital for the startup strategy as it allows learning more about the product with less effort. Building a minimum viable product can take multiple iterations to reach completion , but surely it’ll save lot’s of money, time, and energy for you. The MVP has three main features:
- It provides enough value for the customer to be able to use it.
- It proves it can develope fast and bring more features, so it’ll retain the early customers.
- Getting Feedback is a crucial part of it. It’s designed in a way that the user can quickly provide the founders with feedbacks.
It’s for a while that Eric Ries has begun teaching this method as a very essential strategy in launching a startup and many famous startups have deployed the method. Let’s take a look into them.
Minimum Viable Product examples in famous startups
Buffer is among those well-known startups which begun its work with a straightforward MVP approach. As they’ve written here, They were inspired by Eris Ries’s ideology and just created a very simple landing page to get the customer feedback. The landing page just looked like this:
Leo Widrich, the founder of the service, tweeted the link without even setting the pricing page. Just to track how many people clicked and visited the pricing page.
The early response indicated that people would use such an app. enough people were clicking on paid options. This was the beginning of one of the most successful and famous social media tools for marketers.
Airbnb wasn’t always a $30 billion company. It didn’t always have a fully functioning site, a customer support team of above 100 people, or the various number of mobile applications.
The founders of the Airbnb In their MVP (Minimum Viable Product), didn’t want any complete website with multiple options of choosing the date, prices, locations and etc. They just needed to prove that people are willing to pay for their services. To test their idea, They created a webpage for a single tech-conference which was sold out. They ended up finding three, who each agreed to pay $80 per night. They knew that the idea will work.
Drew, The founder of DropBox, created a technology which couldn’t find any investors for it. Investors couldn’t understand the value in his product and kept pushing that the market is crowded with similar services. The services which neither of them used them! Drew believed that he could change this market.
It was not possible to create a prototype for the final users. There was a possibility that things go wrong and lose all the efforts of years developing the product. Drew did something unexpectedly easy to get the user feedbacks: he made a video.
In this short video, Drew describes the technology and how the service works, himself. He distributed the video among professional and early adaptors communities. Within 24 hours, the video had over 10,000 Diggs. Drew says:
Our beta waiting list went from 5,000 people to 75,000 people literally overnight. It totally blew us away.
Group on, the top-rated platform for getting highly discounts got a fascinating story to tell of it’s launching time. Before Groupon, there was The Point. A platform which took 11 months to be developed. Andrew Mason thought he would create the best possible service and then release it. But he was wrong, The service was a failure. The Point’s goal was organizing people gathering around social causes. It never took off. While starting, the team used to prefer pizzas in a nearby restaurant. One day, the founder went to the restaurant and asked the owner a discount because all of the group was ordering pizzas to the restaurant. The owner accepted. He launched Groupon in a month with a WordPress blog. He started handling the customers with simple emails. Sending their requests and managing their coupons. By this way, it’s proved for him that people want the product and started developing it the way they wanted.
The first version of the App was elementary. It only had fundamental features: Check-in and badges. Professional developers believed that the App was a failure and will fade soon. But the founders just wanted to test the gamification features and as soon as possible. After gathering the user reactions, the app developers began to expand its capabilities. They added recommendations and city guides. The App was a success, and now it got more 50 million people that checked in 8 billion times.
To Wrap up!
These minimum viable product examples were those who got succeeded, and we know them as Unicorns or leaders of their own market. But what about the rest? There is a vast number of founders who launched their MVPs and found out that what they thought was not the thing the customers also needed. They just stopped or maybe changed ideas. Besides them, there is another group of people who pay a lot of time, energy, and money to gain this experience. By building an MVP you can also better anticipate your core idea and underline the most important tasks and features of your startup. Try to build fast and Try to fail fast.