MVPs are often the beginning for many startups. Here are 5 successful examples showing us that in order to grow big, you first have to start out small.


But what is an MVP? 


The definition of an MVP is “a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers, and to provide feedback for future product development.” The key here is that you have to be able to sell it, or at least go with a proof of concept.


MVP allows a company to understand the market’s needs without having to build an exhaustive product.


With an MVP, you can check if the demand is there. That’s it.


Here are 5 successful startups that started out with an MVP.


1. Facebook


While the original story of how Facebook began doesn’t start out like your normal MVP fairytale, it certainly ended that way.

January 2004 saw the start of what is today known as Facebook, although back then it was called Thefacebook and lacked a number of services that are included today.


© Facebook














Initially, Facebook served as a social network for Harvard students but the ever-increasing popularity of the platform pushed Zuckerberg to extend it to other universities, and, eventually, to the world. 

Facebook’s early days displayed many key elements of a successful MVP, and these, along with a unique idea and a number of smart business moves, have resulted in Facebook becoming the success it is today.


Keys to the MVP Success:

*  Zuckerberg built a basic model of his product that contained only the required functionalities needed to fulfill its goals. Many of these Facebook’s current functionalities weren’t included in the first release.


*  The application was released to a small group of users in order to test and gain feedback.


2. Twitter


What was originally called twttr is the 140-character social network responsible for the invention of the #hashtag.

The original Twitter prototype was designed for internal users at Odeo as a way to send messages to other employees.

This is how one of the first versions of Twitter looked like:















And you know what? There wasn’t anything like hashtags or replies back then.

It wasn’t hard to see the market potential – hence, we witnessed the foundation of Twitter on July 15, 2006.

Keys to MVP Success:

*  Twitter was released to a small group of people for testing and gaining feedback

*  Many of the features Twitter encompasses now weren’t included in the first few releases, allowing the platform to focus on its initial goal



3. Dropbox


From the very beginning, Dropbox followed many of the fundamental techniques used when building an MVP. One of the key principles of building an MVP is to start off small and capture users’ interest early. And Dropbox did just that.

Before even placing a working product into the hands of users, the team created a 30-second video that visually demonstrated their product.



The video played to the right audience: users had lots of helpful comments and feedback, as well as pointed out potential problems. Dropbox collected 70,000 email addresses in one day.

The green light was given from users that the product was desired.

Keys to the MVP’s Success:

*  Successfully validated the original ideas, tested assumptions, and minimized risk by conducting valuable market and customer research

*  The original product was very simple and contained only the most important functionalities


4. Airbnb


Airbnb wasn’t always a $30 billion company. It didn’t always have fully functioning site, a customer support team of over 100 people, or multiple mobile applications.

To emerge as a viable platform with a critical mass of users offering and using rooms, Airbnb needed to do two things:

1. It needed to demonstrate there was a market for paid room rentals in personal setting

2. It needed to attract enough users to its specific platform so that supply and demand could be met in any location


© Airbnb




In their MVP, there was no robust website or option to select multiple dates, locations or prices. They targeted one demographic: tech conference attendees at a single sold-out conference.

Keys to MVP Success:

*  Building simply and learning at earliest stages to avoid costly, feature-rich failure

*  Better to fail fast and readjust than to learn the same lesson after spending a ton of time and money


5. Spotify


If you are a music lover you should try Spotify – that is if you are not using it already. Today they have over 60 million subscribers. But it wasn’t always like that.

When they launched in 2009 with a landing page, they focused on the single feature that mattered the most: music streaming experience.

One of the earliest sketches that described their UI vision:


© Spotify













Spotify uses a 4-stage iterative product cycle (Think It, Build It, Ship It, Tweak It):

1.Think It – First, you have to decide on the product you are going to work on, and then build a prototype so you can test it.

2. Build It – Build a real MVP and give it to users to test.

3. Ship It – Collect data and improve, while gradually releasing your MVP.

4. Tweak It – Collect feedback and improve your product until it is complete.


Keys to MVP Success:

*  Spotify found the sweet spot in the market between what’s currently available and what users actually want.

*  To test the hypotheses, Spotify employees started testing the product themselves and even asked their family members and friends to check it out.


The above MVPs succeed by creating a simple experience to test demand – not by obsessing over features. By limiting yourself to testing just the core value of your product, you give yourself room to fail without breaking the bank. The goal of an MVP isn’t getting it right, it’s maximising learning with minimal effort so you don’t speed down the path of no return.


If you want to learn more on building a successful MVP, make sure you get our FREE App Startup Guide.

At Startup Creator, we have helped a number of startups get off the ground by planning, designing, developing and launching their MVP. Contact us for a free consultation and let’s get your MVP project started today ?


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