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Start Small, Build Fast: The MVP Approach

Two men in San Francisco couldn’t afford to pay rent for their loft apartment. To avoid eviction and make a few bucks, they rent out three air mattresses in their living room.

And, Voila! They soon get three paying guests (two men and one woman), who pay $80 each for bed and breakfast.

Ever since then, the idea was no longer limited to just help pay their rent, but become a billion-dollar behemoth in the sharing economy.

The two men I am talking about are Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, and the startup they built from the scratch is Airbnb. An unstoppable juggernaut now, Airbnb is currently valued at a staggering $38bn and has already been hailed as one of the most valuable startups in the US.

But, the bigger question is, how did they do it.

They Tested The Market by Launching an MVP

Brian and Joe realized that travelers who came to San Francisco in 2007 to attend the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) Conference faced the crunch for hotel rooms as they had been overbooked.

So, they decided to target the conference attendees by launching an MVP, a simple website based on a single idea. They simply didn’t think of building hundreds of features first and then launch as it could have taken months or years to build. To target just the attendees and test their idea, they didn’t need to build options to select multiple dates, locations or prices. They built a simple interface that got them three paying guests.

In fact, the first versions of Airbnb were a far cry from what it is today.

Going forward, they needed to confirm whether or not other hosts would let strangers pay to share their residence. So, they added a feature to allow other hosts to list their houses on the platform. Renters were now able to view on a map which locations were available and for what price.

The modus operandi was to identify and build only the most basic features at the earliest stages to put across the core value of the product. The MVP launch helped Airbnb founders bring their product to market fast and continuously improve based on their learnings and customer feedback. In fact, Airbnb eventually became a whale in the sharing economy because of its unwavering focus on the user experience.

How Evon helps Startups Achieve the Same

In a decade of working with 600+ startups, Evon has helped many aspiring entrepreneurs convert their problem-solving ideas into a profitable business. Let me share one such tech startup success story that Evon built an MVP for and handled all necessary tech requirements along the journey, from becoming sustainable to profitable with increasing cash flows. Let’s start with what problem this startup wanted to solve and what approach was taken to build the product.

Problem Identification and the Fix

A problem area that three would-be entrepreneurs identified was the struggle of most parents to get to grips with their childcare responsibilities. So, they thought of building an online solution that would allow parents to unearth the best their city has to offer for their kids, in and around the neighborhood, ranging from kids’ events, fun family outings, discounts & offers to a comprehensive listing of products and services for their children.

But, yet again, not all things all at once. So, Evon brainstormed with the founders to figure out what to build and what not to build for the MVP, and identified two most important key features: A search option to allow parents to uncover various kids activities taking place in their city and an option to allow organizers to create kids events that parents can see.

Evon built the Tech for the MVP

Evon built and launched the two key features in two months, providing first customers a workable software to get the essence of the product. We didn’t go overboard with the design and colors at the MVP stage, and it was quite ok! The major focus was on user experience so that the minimum key features could work as intended, without any technical glitches.

The key features of an MVP are differentiators and vary from product to product. So, it’s important to question what minimum features reflect the core value of a product development and ignore the ones that don’t at the MVP stage.

For example, it was decided to target only one city to test the idea instead of going all-in across the country. So, it was not necessary to build an option to select a particular city among several cities from the drop-down (which would happen later once the idea caught-on and reached other cities, which it did).

The product now lists various categories ranging from pregnancy to baby, kids, beauty & fashion, mums life, travel & living, recipes, health, videos and many more. But, it didn’t happen overnight. Even the tech giants, like Facebook, Instagram, and Uber, started with an MVP and kept adding more features from their learnings along the journey.

The Takeaway

Based on the above two cases and many more in the startup industry in general, the success mantra seems to be this: Start small and build fast. This approach helps quickly validate a startup idea and learn at very early stages what to build going forward. The desire to pack hundreds of features into a first-version product is a dangerous approach as it could end up in a costly, feature-rich failure. If a startup is to fail, it’s better to fail fast so that founders can learn fast and readjust fast, instead of stumbling on the same lesson after spending a ton of time and money.

Why choose Evon Tech for your MVP?

Every product has different requirements, which is why Evon, with over a decade worth of experience of building hundreds of startups, suggests technologies that are the best fit and stable. Choosing a technology just because it’s in trend or every developer next door using it could be an invitation to more harm than good. Think of technology as tools, a hammer can’t serve the purpose of an axe. It’s simply not designed to do that.

Startups are not missiles but aircraft that need some momentum to take off. And, one of the best ways to gain that momentum is to launch an MVP. Evon, as a custom web design and development company, will take you through every step and work with you so that you can bring your product to market sooner, test it fast and improve it in further development rounds.

If you also have a startup idea and want to give your product the best chance by launching an MVP, get in touch with us, we will get back to you shortly.

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