MVP vs. POC vs. Prototype: The Right Fit for Your Startup

MVP vs. POC vs. Prototype: The Right Fit for Your Startup
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New ideas appear in a world where the competition to be first to market is the primary motivation for businesses. But not every good idea becomes an attractive product because the idea has to go through several stages of testing and development so you can know if it’s a hero or a zero. 

So many entrepreneurs risk their money, time, and other resources before analyzing their idea, coming up with a prototype, and getting a response from potential customers. 

But, how do you do this? There are three approaches. Let’s go through them one by one.

What Does POC Mean in Business?

Proof-of-concept (POC) is a strategy for project implementation used to determine whether an idea can be applied in reality. For instance, in a custom software development project, a proof of concept helps us verify whether the idea can meet the specific needs (e.g. budget, scalability, employee training) of a company or not. Proof-of-concept may be a useful indicator of a startup's future profitability.

A proof of concept is not a watered-down model of your final product. This project stands alone and serves simply to prove that your concept is feasible. 

The goal of this approach is not to find the perfect demand in the market. It doesn't show the best way to make the product. It just showcases the technical features of any project, such as custom hardware development.  

Each proof of concept allows you to test the viability of a different technological assumption, idea, integration, etc. So you need multiple POCs if you wish to check multiple technical features in separate parts of your work.

POC in a project relies heavily on mocked APIs, static data, etc. You can ignore things like code quality, security, and user interface simplification.

Before moving on to prototype and MVP development, you should complete your proof-of-concept project. It normally takes some time and effort to implement a proof of concept process. However, the costs of producing an unusable product are much higher. After discussing POC’s meaning in business, it’s time to explore its features.


POCs have a few defining characteristics. That would be:

  • Determines whether your concept has any chance of succeeding
  • Allows you to investigate the practicality of your ideas.
  • Allows you to examine the viability of your idea down to the component level
  • Identifies the most urgent problems and threats during the prototyping phase
  • Is a more efficient and economical alternative to a full-scale project when it comes to feature validation
  • Gives you a clear yes or no to show if you can move on with the project

Why Go for POC?

Most businesses use POC to determine whether their concept is workable. Any new concept brings a degree of doubt and may need some kind of evaluation. The same logic applies to creating a low-cost alternative to an established solution. With more resources, your rival's concept may have been put into action. That's why a proof-of-concept (POC) method is better when testing the waters with a new idea.

It is not essential to include concept proofing in the development stage. Even so, we would advise doing so if you have any technical issues that need to be addressed in advance.

A proof-of-concept (POC) is used to increase one's familiarity with the idea. Having a well-defined goal in mind from the start can help in identifying the solution's strengths, weaknesses, and trade-offs. From that point on, you'll be able to give your app's features the attention they deserve.

Getting a product off the ground is a lengthy process. A proof of concept serves as a trial run, proving that you have thought through your ideas and can stick to your financial plan. This shows potential investors that you are making progress.


A prototype is a working model of a product or service that demonstrates the proposed solution. Typically, prototypes are created so others can see the design, structure, UI/UX, navigation, and other aspects of a product. A proof-of-concept illustrates that your idea can be put into action, whereas a prototype explains how. 

But a prototype is not the same thing as an MVP. Prototypes are early versions of products that are created after multiple iterations (brief periods of time in which new features are developed).

A prototype is necessary if you have doubts about the functionality of a planned feature or the usability of an interface design. You can't know for sure until you try, so a prototype of a project may help put your mind at ease about the product's practicality.


What makes the prototype a solid option? Specifically, it has these qualities:

  • Allows for initial product testing and evaluation
  • Allows you to spot issues in the design and development process
  • Is a more practical and economical alternative to developing from the ground up
  • Helps customers become more familiar with the product's process
  • Helps you figure out what customers want
  • presents difficult concepts in a unified framework.
  • Useful for future, complicated ventures

Why Go for a Prototype?

A prototype can be particularly helpful, especially if there is still a lack of clarity in some of the project's criteria. Mockup displays let you view and interact with the final product before development ever begins. Prototyping's primary value is in providing a chance for early user interaction and input.

Prototyping helps to verify the initial idea and allows for the early testing of fresh concepts. User testing is a valuable tool at this stage of the design process since it may reveal areas for change before the product is finalized. 

A prototype serves as the basis for iterative product development until the final, commercial version is ready. Prototypes can offer novel ideas and validate the most lucrative course of action for the product roadmap.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

An MVP offers sufficient features to show early clients how the product works and get their feedback. An MVP, as opposed to a proof-of-concept or prototype, is a fully working product with enough functionality to meet the needs of the product's early adopters. An MVP allows you to evaluate the interest and enthusiasm of potential buyers for your product. Investing in something that no one cares about is a waste of time and money.

To create a successful MVP, you need to focus only on the aspects that offer real value to your target audience. The only concern with MVP development is whether the customer will pay for the product or not.

The response is rarely as simple as "yes" or "no," as it would be with a POC. An MVP lets you do testing, iteration, and evaluation.

An MVP shows how to create a functional product quickly. It's not the final version, but it may help you assess consumer interest in your product. 

On the one hand, prototyping is cheaper than full product development. In contrast, you learn about the market's interests and needs and may begin shaping your company strategy. There are no flaws or blind spots.

Uber and Dropbox are just two of the many giants that used an MVP stage at one point in their history. Creating a mediocre product is not what an MVP is about. It's all about giving them a taste of your product before deciding whether or not to commit to buying the whole thing.


The MVP development strategy includes the following elements:

  • accelerates the time it takes to get a product to market 
  • Allows you to build a product with the core features you know consumers need
  • Is a shortened version of your product that still leaves room for improvement
  • Reduces the chance of wasting resources throughout the development process
  • Shows where development may be taken most effectively
  • Used for ensuring a product's viability and testing hypotheses
  • Lowers risks
  • Provides insight into product usefulness and market demand
  • Makes it possible to achieve a high retention rate with little upfront cost

Why Go for an MVP?

We sometimes see entrepreneurs who have failed, but it's not something they want to speak about. There are probably many different reasons for that. Many want to know whether their product is doomed to fail as soon as possible. That's the first and most important reason why you should go with the MVP option.

The most efficient and effective approach to solving an issue faced by a specific audience is to develop a minimum viable product (MVP). Because of the substantial planning needed, many genius ideas are abandoned. This happens when businesses fail to develop an MVP and, as a result, miss out on valuable insights from prospective customers. 

An MVP may let you quickly analyze user reactions and choose whether or not to invest further. If customers are willing to pay for it, an MVP can help you choose the best route for growth.

Now that we’ve covered MVP’s meaning in business, it’s time to compare the three in a nutshell.

So, How Are They Different?

These three categories belong to distinct stages of development. In the pre-product phase, a proof-of-concept (PoC) or prototype is used with low-to-medium costs.

To gauge the market's interest in your concept, you may put together a minimal viable product (MVP) with only the essential features and functions. An MVP takes more time and money than a proof-of-concept or prototype.

A PoC answers the issue of idea practicality, evaluates the technical features, and minimizes risk in the following software development stages. It's usually something done in-house, so it's not the ideal way to attract investors. A prototype is an excellent way to show potential customers how a product will look or work before it is fully developed.

A prototype is a working model of your product's user interface and/or a specific feature. You may send it to a focus group for initial input to see how people see the big picture and pinpoint any holes in the narrative. It's a great way to get the attention of investors and get money for developing the product further.

A minimal viable product (MVP) is a working version of your product with just the features necessary to prove the viability of your business plan. It's not quite ready for prime time, but it may serve as a useful tool for gathering customer feedback and refining the product in future versions.

Which One is the Right Fit for Your Startup?

There is a significant difference between proof of concept, prototyping, and developing an MVP. As we discussed, each method is most useful at a certain phase of the product development process. There’s also not a definite answer to this question because there’s an individual approach to each industry.

But where should you even begin? Here are some simple pointers to consider when you make your decision.

If there are technical questions or risks, or if you just want to be sure your idea will work, a POC is the way to go. The ability to mitigate risks at the early stages of development is the primary distinction between POC and MVP.

A prototype is the best option when you need to collect feedback and improve on the idea before investing in full-blown development, or when you'd like to visualize and assess the look and feel of a product before making a long-term investment.

Selecting a minimum viable product is the best way to figure out whether or not there is a market for your idea and to get initial feedback from customers. It helps in reducing expenses, speeding up time to market, and directing small changes. 

One of the most effective decision-making mechanisms available to humans is market feedback analysis, which is made possible by all three development stages (MVP, prototype, proof-of-concept).


Can you explain the differences between a prototype vs Proof of Concept?

Prototypes are early versions of products, whereas POCs examine whether an idea is practical or not.

What is the difference between an MVP and a Prototype?

Despite their similarities, the terms "Minimum Viable Product" (MVP) and "Prototype" are very different. Here's a simpler breakdown of the differences between an MVP and a prototype:

  • Function: To compare, a prototype is a simulated model that appears to be functional, but lacks all the functions, whereas a minimum viable product (MVP) is a completely working product with fewer features.
  • User base: Most MVPs are released to the public so that prospective buyers can get a feel for the product. It's common practice to keep prototypes under wraps until they've undergone sufficient testing.
  • Complexity: Prototypes are less complicated than minimum viable products. Minimum viable products have all the core features of the final product.
  • Cost: A prototype can be developed at a lower cost, whereas an MVP requires careful budgeting.
  • Time: It takes more time to build an MVP than it does to put together a prototype. MVPs evaluate product viability and user input, whereas prototypes examine key product hypotheses.

When is it time to start developing an MVP?

When you need to quickly evaluate your product's selling point and collect user input, an MVP is the way to go.

What’s the best option?

We think it's all relative to the circumstances. To find out whether an idea is viable, a POC is invaluable. A prototype or MVP may help decide whether this specific version makes sense.

How much does each of them cost?

There’s no clear-cut answer to this because it depends on the project, your specific idea, and the intended scale. But, if you’re looking for a reliable estimate, you can give us the project details and let our team provide you with a quote.