How about a $30 million Minimum Viable Product?

“MVP” (Minimum Viable Product) is a term that get tossed around a lot in Silicon Valley (way too much, actually, as I’ve written recently in Forbes and on Medium). 

In addition there being confusion about what an MVP is, there’s also confusion about what the budget for one should be. My Stanford students often ask me “how much should I budget for my MVP?”. As always, the answer is “it depends”. 

When Tivix builds software MVP’s for clients the budget is usually in the low-six-figures. That’s about right for a new web/mobile/cloud software platform. For most of our clients, from that MVP they are able to get the learnings required to then scale-up the product offering (read about how our client Marlette built an MVP with Tivix and then scaled up into a multi-billion dollar company). 

This morning I read a TechCrunch article about how the MVP for one particular new startup is expected to be $30 million. Because if you plan to build supersonic passenger jet there’s pretty much no way around the fact that your MVP will require building an airplane!

MVP’s can mean many different things to many different ventures. The one constant is that the purpose of an MVP is to provide learnings from which you can scale up to a refined product that has achieved product/market fit. That’s the purpose of an MVP. 

I’m just glad we are in the software business. Building a $30 million supersonic jet MVP sounds stressful to me.