Building an app is a risky and expensive process. Even if you find a reliable outsourcing company and develop the simplest app ever, you’ll pay no less than $ 10 thousand. You may say it’s not that much after all, and it certainly isn’t. But here come marketing expenses. And bug fixing. And more marketing.
In case you want to pull a Rovio and launch some viral application like Angry Birds, get ready to be disappointed. The Finnish team released the game (which was destined to generate over 1 billion downloads worldwide!) some 6 years ago. At the time, iTunes was new and trending, and it was much easier for third-party developers to enter the market.
If you go for an Apple TV app right now, you surely stand a chance. It’s different with mobile. There are over 3 million applications on Google Play and App Store. In 2018, less than 1% of all mobile apps will be commercially successful – due to poor marketing, lack of demand, UX issues and heavy competition.
Creating an MVP app is an easy way to avoid development and marketing mistakes.
Here are some fine minimum viable product examples to draw inspiration from.
5 MVPs that brought tech startups into prominence
In mobile app development, the term “minimum viable product” refers to the very basic version of an application. It usually serves a single purpose and is released to the market to validate the whole product idea.
However, startups and small businesses may struggle to develop a high-quality MVP. After all, it costs a lot of money and takes up to 9 months (like WhatsApp).
These companies prove cheap and less time-consuming MVPs can also do their job:
- Dropbox. One of the greatest Silicon Valley startups which was worth $ 10 billion in 2014 began its market expansion with an explainer video. In 2007, Drew Houston gathered a team of software engineers to create an easy-to-use file sharing tool. The product required integration with major computer platforms, including iOS, Android and Microsoft. It was a huge job, and the Dropboxers certainly didn’t want to waste months on building a service nobody needed. They recorded a simple explainer video and put it on their website. The video generated 75 thousand subscribers in no time. Eventually, the startup got the attention of Steve Jobs and raised $ 250 million in funding;
- Uber. The beta version of the famous taxi app was launched in 2010. It didn’t incorporate gamification elements, fare splitting and other functions we’re accustomed to. Instead, Garret Camp and Travis Kalanick chose to simply connect drivers and iPhone owners and enable credit card payments. They marketed the product to a small group of people in San Francisco, gathered feedback and raised additional funding. In 2015, Uber made over $ 1.5 billion;
- Airbnb. The world-famous accommodation rental service will be worth $ 10 billion by 2020. Last year, the company generated $ 900 million in revenues. In 2007, Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky were struggling to pay rent. By chance, a design conference was coming to San Francisco, and the friends decided to offer their flat as cheap accommodation for participants. Chesky and Gebbia made pictures of their loft, put them on a simple website and soon found three paying guests. They offered bed and breakfast, and that’s where the Airbnb title came from. It’s a perfect example of a concierge MVP (looks like a finished application/website, but all the job is done manually). Using the MVP, Gebbia and Chesly were able to study the initial demand for the service and find out what their customers want;
- Foursquare. When Naveen Selvadurai and Dennis Crowley launched the location-based social network, IT experts said the company was doomed. Last year, the Foursquare app had 55 million users. What is the secret behind its success? Crowly and Sevadurai stripped down the app’s functionality to check-ins and gamification. They analyzed user feedback and continuously improved the end product. Other popular Foursquare features like City Guides and recommendations were added much later. Remember: user experience is king!
- Buffer. 6 years ago Joel Gascoigne, a Birmingham-based developer, had an idea for an app. He wanted to know whether users needed a social media planning tool to publish posts at regular intervals. In order to generate customer feedback, he launched a landing page and soon built a solid subscription list. By doing so, Gascoigne managed to evaluate the market demand for his product and decide on the app’s features. Today the famous social media scheduling application has over 2 million registered users.
Building an MVP is the essential part of app development. Your road to success may not be smooth. You’ll probably have to get rid of certain app features or even leave the idea for good. However, a minimum viable product will save you time and money. And that’s what every business is about.