How Much Does It Cost to Develop an MVP for your Startup?

How Much Does It Cost to Develop an MVP for your Startup?

A Silicon Valley entrepreneur Eric Reis brought a disruption on how startups work. Witnessing the failure of so many startups in the space, Eric, in his leadership of lean startup movement, introduced the concept of MVP– i.e. Minimum Viable Product.

He was the first to mention that a new business doesn’t needto deploy a full-featured product immediately. Alternatively, there is a better approach to product development where you can keep adding different features and functionality with time as the model is validated by the real audience in the market. This is what MVP is- a prior effort to managing risk and getting a market-fit product- be it hardware, software, website, mobile app or a service.

We believe this sounds plausible to every business owner as they manage the challenge of building the right product for their audience without actually developing it. Here, we’ll discuss about developing an MVP for a mobile app startup.

Minimum Viable Product in App Development

Developing a mobile app is a costly affair. It requires an expert app development company to do it for you, especially when you are a startup. But then too, even the smartest developers can’t be 100% right in predicting how will the appbehave after its fully developed. They also need to create a working model of your app idea- like a very basic version of your application with minimum featuresthat can be released in the market to test the validity of the idea.

Building an MVP is much cheaper than building a perfectly-working mobile application, so this saves on a huge cost and time for the app owner. You may save on development, marketing expenses and bug fixing. This makes an MVP a valuable option because it involves just a part of the app business strategy. The main benefits of developing an MVP before the final product are:

  • Real feedback by real-time users
  • Reduces business risks
  • Less investment
  • Validate your product viability before final launch
  • Pitch your idea for funding
  • Prepare your app for a smoother discharge
  • Can earn initial income through MVP

What does an MVP development cycle look like?


MVP Development Cycle


If this is your first minimum viable product development, you may not know the steps involved in developing it.  The MVP stages include customers on each product stage, but for startups, it becomesmore challenging. And thus, we’re here to help you as a starter. The difference between the second and the third approach (in the above picture) is that to invite funds from investors to market a car, you need to represent them the MVP of a car (from the start) and not the scooter.

The bottom line is that what you envision, you need to expose exactly the same to your investors- it’s just that you show them a model in advance, highlighting the core features of your product.

The process involves the following steps:

  • Defining a hypothesis for testing
  • Creating a requirement and project scope list
  • Mention separately all the products and features you want in your business app
  • Describe what makes your app unique from others- like new algorithms that will disrupt the market
  • Prioritizing features in the lists- like which will create most value in short-term and which will be useful for long-term business growth
  • Categorize features into core features and add-ons.
  • Launch and release the MVP
  • Record the feedback of first few users. Discover the bottlenecks and perform a SWOT analysis.
  • Analyze and process the data gathered
  • Make a new hypothesis and enumerate new, improved features
  • Repeat the above

All top app services have followed this path before launching their real product in the market.

How much investment is required?

If you do it on your own, an MVP costs you nothing at all. But this won’t work well in 99% cases. Instead, it will be more distressing than the cost you bear in MVP. So, it’s better to hire either a freelance mobile app developer or a full-scale mobile app development company to develop the app for you.

For an app like Twitter, building an MVP costs around $50,000 and for Facebook, it costs you around $500,000. Shocked? Please don’t be! Not every app takes this much amount of money to build an MVP.

The costs estimates depend on the time it takes to create the MVP and also on the kind of solution you plan to execute. For a simple mobile app, its takes around a minimum of a month and a half, which calculates to around $7k-$13k. If the product is complex, the cost may range between $15k-$20k.

What makes a company your best development partner is that how they stand out in creating the list of features. Some top mobile app development companies have moved to a more modern method of listing the features through a two-dimensional map that considers user activities and vision of the product. They define minimum but valuable feature list through story mapping- as a part of their agile working methodology. The ultimate aim is to allow your users to receive an individual, customized solution while they use your services.