What exactly is an MVP in the world of software development? A Minimum Viable Product is a version of a product with only the features necessary to launch it to the first customers. MVP development is a great way to gather valuable feedback and insight while better understanding market demand. For further understanding of MVP in real life, this is the list of successful MVP software development examples that made noise!
Types of MVP in Software Development
Different MVPs will bring different results and should be used in certain situations. By understanding the business model and defining your requirements, you can determine which type of MVP is best for your company:
- Concierge – best for testing market demands: you will manually assist your user in achieving their goals to validate whether they need what you are offering and to test the market demand before developing the applications.
- The Wizard of Oz: This MVP in software development is the same as concierge. The difference is users/customers don’t know that the idea is being tested.
- Landing Pages: This allows you to test the product idea and decide whether to build an initial version of the minimum viable product or a different version than the intended version. It allows interested users to join a mailing list or click to buy now.
- Email MVP: Creating an email will help you achieve your customers’ tendencies. The action of having read the email but not clicking on the call-to-action buttons can be concluded that the offered value proposition is not appealing.
- Single-Feature MVP: It is used to test and validate the demand for independent features in a product. It comes in handy when entrepreneurs want to introduce new features or test the dependability of third-party integrations.
- First man: It contains only the essential functions and will be used by early adopters. Typically, the product is aimed at such customers, who are more tolerant, more willing to provide feedback, and have a greater ability to understand the product vision with only a prototype or basic product information, in addition to helping to fill gaps in the desired functionality.
- Crowdfunding: You can explore the final products’ market position through participants contributions on these public funding platforms. The essence of this type is that crowdfunding platforms allow donations to be made even before the product is released.
- Software prototypes: A program or application performs one or two functions required to test the viability of your primary functions. This allows you to narrow the target group, gather feedback and analysis, and concentrate on testing.
- Piecemeal: With this MVP software development example, you will leverage existing services and platforms to test your idea and do some research, before developing the product. This is best for business with tight market
Now that you have understood the differences between each type of MVP, here are the top software MVP examples from top brands.
Successful MVP in Software Development Examples
1. Amazon – Concierge & Landing Page MVP
It is well known that the e-commerce behemoth began as an online bookstore. When Jeff Bezos first launched his landing page, he purchased books from distributors and shipped them to customers who placed online orders. He did it to see if people would buy books from the internet.
To reduce product development costs, he built the initial website with only the essential features. Seeing the volume of book sales, Bezos continued to add more books, upgrade the website and expand to more products, eventually growing into a massive platform that sells everything.
Today, Amazon is the gold standard in the e-commerce niche, with nearly $470 billion in revenue and a global market presence.
2. Facebook – Single feature & First man MVP
Facebook first MVP had only 2 main features: allow students to connect via their college or class and allow them to post messages to their boards. Friends Reunited and other social platforms had similar ideas, but the simplicity of Facebook’s approach, as well as the traction it gained as it went viral among college graduates, proved unstoppable.
They attracted users by satisfying their needs with minimal features and low maintenance costs. Before becoming the top social media as known today, Facebook was mainly used around Harvard, making the students become the first man to try this MVP software development example.
3. Buffer – Landing Pages MVP
Buffer launched a series of landing pages before launching the app for scheduling social media posts. The first landing page asked visitors to enter their email addresses if they wanted to learn more about the product’s plans and pricing.
They asked users on the second landing page whether they wanted to try the free version or one of the two paid options. Simply tweeting the link and asking people what they thought of the idea showed that most people were willing to pay for paid plans, and Buffer knew their product had market potential. It is now one of the most dependable social media post-planning and scheduling platforms.
4. Zappos – Wizard of Oz MVP
Zappos is a well-known Wizard of Oz’s MVP software development example. Nick Swinmurn, the founder of this American online shoe and clothing, tested the hypothesis that people were willing to buy shoes online before trying them in 1999. He experimented by listing local products on Shoesite.com, then shopping and delivering orders online. Consumers have drawn attention due to their convenience in providing exactly what people require.
This model inspired him to create his website, which he renamed Zappos. It was a huge success and was later purchased by Amazon for $1.2 billion in 2009. Thanks to its high revenue and stable customer base, they are the forerunner of today’s Amazon.
5. Uber – First man MVP
Garret Camp and Travis Kalanick proposed matching drivers with passengers looking for a cheaper ride than a regular taxi. To put this idea to the test, they played it smart and began with a simple MVP version rather than full-fledged mobile app development like UberCab.
It was only available in San Francisco and only worked on iPhones or via SMS. By the way, it was sufficient to demonstrate that the concept had market potential. The data obtained from this MVP enabled Uber to test market risks and become one of San Francisco’s most valuable companies to be invested in.
6. Instagram – Single feature MVP
When one of the most popular social media platforms, Instagram, was released, it only had a few screens. Its main features were uploading a photo, applying a filter, and sharing it with friends on a daily feed.
Over time, the Instagram team developed and enhanced the applications into a social media platform for photo and video sharing. Their MVP was the tool to test the idea’s viability and get user feedback.
7. Groupon – Piecemeal MVP Software Development examples
Groupon is a standout MVP software development example; it began as a piecemeal minimum viable product that promoted local businesses services. It’s a global e-commerce marketplace in the United States that connects subscribers with local merchants by providing activities, travel, goods, and services with special offers and discounts for a wider customers’ choice.
Because the app’s creators couldn’t create their content management system (CMS), they used WordPress to publish daily deals as blog posts. This enabled them to test their model without investing in back-end infrastructure.
8. Spotify – Single feature MVP
Spotify is another must-learn MVP software development example of how focusing on a single core feature rather than getting distracted by other cool features is better. They wanted to create the best music streaming service possible, so they focused their MVP on that part – music streaming.
To test the market, Spotify created a desktop app and ran a closed beta. While the MVP product and a freemium pricing model proved to be exactly what people wanted, the Spotify team spent time signing even more artists and developing mobile apps simultaneously to conquer the US market.
This MVP assisted the company in getting customers’ insight more easily, costless and profitable.
9. ProductHunt – Piecemeal MVP software development example
ProductHunt’s founder, Ryan Hoover, wanted to create a community for people who want to share and discuss their products with other members. However, creating a fully functional web platform or app would take weeks, if not months, and Ryan was still determining if people would want it.
He decided to start with an MVP to test his concept. Ryan used Linkydink, which allowed him to create a group and share links with its members. He then added his startup friends and promoted his idea through PR and social media.
Ryan’s 20-minute MVP attracted over 170 people in the first two weeks. This means his idea has potential growth to be invested in.
10. Foursquare – Single feature MVP example
Foursquare is a location-based social network that began with just one feature: the ability for users to check in at various locations.
After it gained a good number of users, Foursquare awarded badges to their users based on the number and type of check-ins. They then expanded their user base by adding recommendations, city guides, and other features.
Foursquare has evolved into a full-fledged city guide with over 9 billion monthly visits from 500 million unique devices.
11. Twitter – First man MVP
Twitter, the world’s most popular social media platform, has taken an entirely different approach to make it stand out in the market. It first started with the name Odeo as a podcasting platform. Having struggled to keep up with other competitors, forcing them to hold hackathons to decide what to do next.
They came up with the idea of creating an SMS-based messaging platform for internal use. They noticed that employees were spending hundreds of dollars on SMS to post on the platform. The founders realized that the concept of “twttr” could meet users’ future needs. They upgraded the platform, expanded the user base to the general audiences, attracted large investment capital, and established the company’s reputation.
12. Inspiring MVP examples from Dropbox – Email, Video & First man
Dropbox’s founders had a brilliant idea to create online file storage. They wanted people to understand the market before it was developed. Rather than investing in and building hardware immediately, they began with a demo video MVP. Watch this incredible MVP software development example:
The straightforward video demonstrated how the first iteration of their product would appear and function. They could have built an entire hardware infrastructure and developed apps, but that was a risk they were unwilling to take.
Overnight, they received over 70k emails from people who wanted the products as soon as possible. It was a massive success because the number of signups increased overnight, even though there was no actual product. The experience of watching the video was sufficient to sell the concept and gather feedback validating their product.
13. Food on the table – Concierge MVP Software development example
The brand mainly does business with meal delivery services and provides cookbooks about healthy eating.
At the first stage, the company’s CEO, Manuel Rosso, wanted to examine the whole process himself to define what a customer wants. He personally visited the client every week rather than letting them communicate with a digital app. The entrepreneur will consider what should be sold in stores based on customer preferences to choose recipes. Then they ship weekly products to users’ homes to directly get their input.
Once the model is viable, this process is automated. Without permanently depleting resources, testing this MVP enables the store to boost sales and improve its focus on neighborhood customers.
14. Zynga – Piecemeal MVP
Zynga Inc. is an American company that provides social video game services. They want to combine gaming and social media for connection and other uses. Their first product was a simple poker game that anyone could play. Raising their capital on Facebook Live made all the difference in getting venture capital to fund titles like Farmville, allowing the team to succeed.
This MVP software development example demonstrates that your MVP can sometimes not be the product itself but the platform it runs on. As a result, with adequate cost and time, your business can still be served well by an intermediary like MVP.
15. Etsy – Single Feature MVP
Etsy found its first audience with a craft-focused MVP site. Their MVP satisfies the customers’ needs with the order shipping speed as fast as its available products, a seamless transformation to a diverse online shopping format. In other words, they learned from their competitor’s mistakes, where eBay usually got complaints about slow performance.
This platform leverages Etsy’s potential to bring crafters to be part of the growing economic segments. Their hobbies can now be profitable and fulfilled at the same time. Also, there is more variety of sellers on Etsy, like housewives, elderly or disabled people. They are one of the top eCommerce platforms worldwide, alongside Amazon, eBay, and AliExpress.
16. Angel List – Crowdfunding & Email MVP
AngelList is a platform that was created to assist startups in raising funds and connecting with investors; it is now also a platform for employee recruitment. This has become one of the most popular crowdfunding and investor email MVP software development example.
Babak Nivi and Naval Ravikant founded AngelList in January 2010. By trying to send introductory emails about AngelList to investors using their extensive network of contacts, the potential of this service has been recognized and widely publicized before actual development.
17. Airbnb – Single feature MVP
In 2008, discovering that they were having trouble paying their rent, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia discovered it could be solved by finding someone who wanted to rent their home.
Instead of following the real estate developer’s traditional path of creating a website full of details and advertisements, they made a simple MVP, a basic website that displays photos of their apartments with information.
Based on this discovery, they founded Airbnb in 2008 with the support of everyone in need of renting in the area and used the revenue to create the Airbnb that it is today.
18. Pebble – Piecemeal MVP
Pebble thinks cramming massive technology into a coin-sized space is not a prerequisite for success. Their initial experimental design based on its e-paper raised $10 million on Kickstarter from like-minded users of mere watchmaking.
This message continues to call for $20 million in 2015 to maintain and expand the company. Pebble exited the market last year, but it demonstrated with millions of sales without the most cutting-edge technology.
Some tips to create a winning MVP like these brands
Before jumping on creating your first MVP, take a few steps back and carefully do your research with these criteria:
- Your target customer: who will use the application, where are they, and what do those people have in common? Try to answer it in as much detail as possible.
- Identify your budget and deadline for launching to create a suitable product development plan.
- Decide your most valuable features based on customers’ pain points and insight. When building your MVP, you want to focus on those who bring you customers. After you have understood your users, other features can be scaled in the future.
- When building your MVP: remember to keep it simple. Treat MVP as the first and a test version. You don’t want to put all your eggs into one basket.
- Constantly attract your “first man” but also make sure they are close to your target audience.
- After having the first feedback, analyze them to ensure product-market fit. You are making a product for a group of people, and even though each piece of feedback is valuable, it’s not always correct and can be subjective.
- Plan a good go-to-market strategy.
Through the MVP software development examples provided above, we hope you can better understand the potential outcomes of using MVP to test-proof your product. Without an effective MVP plan, development times can be extended, costs can escalate, and your product may fail to meet the needs of your potential customers. MVP significantly reduces the risk of building a fully baked product and allows businesses to focus on quick market adaptation through product validation.
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