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Choosing the Right Approach: Proof of Concept, Prototype, or MVP?

When venturing into the startup world, terms like Proof of Concept (PoC), prototype, and Minimum Viable Product (MVP) are more than just buzzwords. In fact, they are the essential building blocks of any successful digital product. 

More than 70% of projects fail in the product development stage. Therefore, grasping these key concepts is vital in the early stages of launching your project. 

Join us as we explore the unique characteristics and importance of PoC, prototype, and MVP in your entrepreneurial journey.

What is Proof of Concept?

In the startup ecosystem, a Proof of Concept (PoC) acts much like a litmus test for innovative ideas. It’s designed to answer a critical question: Can this concept function effectively in the real world? 

A PoC focuses narrowly, targeting a specific design, project, or assumption to rigorously test its viability. This process is about ensuring that the core of an idea can feasibly evolve into a fully realized product.  

For instance, in mobile app development, a PoC may involve a simple project that tests whether an idea is technically feasible. During this phase, the focus on user experience is minimal. However, the primary goal is to validate the technical capabilities, not the end-user interface, which requires extensive time and effort to optimize.


Royal Philips partnered with Accenture to create a groundbreaking proof of concept (PoC) that integrates Google Glass with Philips IntelliVue Solutions. This revolutionized how surgeons access critical information during procedures. 

This PoC demonstrated the seamless transfer of patient vital signs to a Google Glass head-mounted display, offering surgeons hands-free access to essential clinical data. 

The innovation allowed physicians to monitor patient vitals and respond to changes during surgery without ever needing to divert their gaze from the patient, enhancing both efficiency and effectiveness in surgical environments.

What is a Prototype?

A prototype is an initial sample of a product. It is designed to test a concept or process in a real-world scenario. This early version of your product allows stakeholders and development teams to visualize, interact with, and refine the core functionalities. This provides a clearer view of the expected user journey and experience.

Prototypes vary in complexity—from simple paper sketches to advanced interactive models using tools like Figma, which can simulate user interactions and generate usable HTML and CSS for web development. 

The benefits of prototyping, such as identifying design flaws early and gaining actionable feedback, make it an invaluable stage in software product development.


Amazon.com’s journey since its launch in July 1995 is a classic example of effective prototyping in the digital realm. Initially sporting a basic gray design with an abstract ‘A’ and a river motif in its logo, Amazon began as a mere online bookstore.

The website’s user interface and design were continuously refined based on customer feedback and technological advancements. These iterative changes in Amazon’s prototype improved the user experience and supported the company’s expansion into a broader range of products.

Each modification was a step towards creating a more sophisticated and user-friendly platform, illustrating the power of prototyping in evolving a business from a simple online bookstore to one of the largest e-commerce giants in the world.

What is a Minimum Viable Product?

A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a fundamental yet strategic component in the product development journey. It is a carefully crafted release that contains just enough features to be functional and valuable to early adopters. This approach allows companies to validate the core idea of their product in a real market environment.

This iterative process of building, releasing, and refining help in gradually sculpting the product to better meet user needs based on actual data and user feedback. Each iteration brings you closer to a product that not only meets the market needs but also resonates well with your audience.

With every version and feedback cycle, you learn more about your customers and refine your product. Doing this ensures that each version is better suited to the market than the last. This iterative cycle continues until the product fully matures, combining functionality with high quality and a unique user experience.


Dropbox, founded in 2007 by MIT students Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, provides a striking example of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) done right. At its inception, instead of building a full hardware infrastructure for their cloud-based file syncing service—a process both costly and time-consuming—the founders opted for a simpler, more cost-effective approach to test their idea. 

They created a straightforward explanatory video that showcased what Dropbox aimed to offer. This video, although basic, was extraordinarily effective. Known as the “$48,000,000 Dropbox Explainer Video,” it led to over 70,000 sign-ups from potential users eager to learn more about the service. 

This initial interest and the feedback received were crucial in shaping the development of Dropbox. Furthermore, the MVP strategy allowed Dropbox to validate the demand for their service without extensive initial investment in physical infrastructure.

How to Choose the Best Approach?

Selecting the right approach is crucial for any project, especially when dealing with disruptive or complex ideas. Each project is unique and might require navigating through all three stages to ensure an effective and cost-efficient development process.

1. Clarify Your Objective

If you’re exploring an innovative idea or are unsure about the feasibility of the technology, start with a PoC. This stage is about validating your idea’s foundational aspects and ensuring that what you plan to build is technically achievable.

2. Map the User Journey

If the goal is to refine the user experience and ensure that all components of your product work harmoniously, developing a prototype is your next step. This allows you to visually and functionally map out the product, providing a platform for gathering early feedback from users and stakeholders. This aspect is crucial for aligning the product with market expectations.

3. Market Testing

Once your idea and user experience are validated through a PoC and prototype, you can proceed with developing an MVP. This version should include enough features to attract early adopters and provide you with insightful feedback. 

By clearly understanding your startup’s current position and objectives, you can make informed decisions on whether to initiate a PoC, prototype, or MVP. In addition, this strategic approach ensures that each phase of development is tailored to your specific needs, maximizing the potential for success.

PoC vs. Prototype vs. MVP: Comparison chart

When navigating the product development process, understanding the distinct roles of a Proof of Concept (PoC), prototype, and Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is crucial. Although these terms are often used interchangeably due to their overlapping purposes in the development cycle, each serves a unique and critical function. 

Here’s a concise comparison chart to clarify the differences and help you determine which approach is best suited for your project at various stages.

Proof of Concept vs. Prototype vs. MVP: Comparison chart

Embarking on a startup journey is akin to creating a masterpiece. Each of the approaches discussed above plays a crucial role in shaping the outcome. Moreover, these stages, each distinct in function, collectively ensure efficient progression in turning an idea into a successful product. 

How Bitsol Technologies Can Help You Transform Your Idea into a Product?

Bitsol Technologies, a reliable Technology Partner, enables Startups with cutting-edge technology to transform their vision into practical solutions. Our expertise lies in developing customized software solutions and product design services for Startups. This allows them to transform, scale, and achieve exponential business growth.

Discover how Bitsol Technologies can guide your decision-making process and maximize your strategic outcomes!

Contact Us Now!

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