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MVP vs EVP: What is the Right Option for Your Startup?

Aug 20, 202314 min read
by Murtuza Kutub
MVP vs EVP: What is the Right Option for Your Startup? Hero

Have you ever wondered how startups like Uber, Airbnb, and Spotify first broke into the market? Would you be surprised to know that their initial success was not based on fully-featured products but rather humble versions of their current offerings? 

As Bill Gates once said, "Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years." 

The journey of a successful startup often starts small, with an idea simplified to its essence. There's a certain charm in MVP's simplicity. An MVP, or Minimum Viable Product, can often be the superhero startup founders need. 

The MVP is not the only game in town. Some startups are now championing a new approach called the Exceptional Viable Product (EVP), praised as a counterpoint to the MVP strategy. 

So, in the battle of MVP vs EVP, which approach should your startup take? Keep reading to find out.

Understanding MVP: An Essential Strategy for Your Startup

The MVP is a term popularized by Eric Ries, author of "The Lean Startup." It represents a version of a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers and provide feedback for future product development. 

At its core, MVP speed development is about quickly and affordably allowing startups to validate their ideas.

Dry Cake Model

Brandon Schauer talks about how companies with not much money make their software or products simple at first, just like a basic cake. This simple product is what we call a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). After that, they add more stuff to it, like you would add icing or fill to a cake, based on what their customers say, and as they get more money and resources. 

Dry cake model MVP

Even though this seems like a smart plan, it's not always preferred because the simple product may not make customers happy and many companies might do the same thing, making it hard to stand out. So, companies make a simple version first to see if people like it, and if they need to change something before they make the final product with all the cool features.

As an entrepreneur, you're always racing against time. Here, MVP shines again. By focusing on the core features, you can launch your product faster into the market, attract users, and start the feedback loop. That's precisely what building an MVP is all about - starting small, testing, learning, and improving.

However, it's not about outshining the competition from day one but more about building a product that thoroughly resonates with its intended audience.

The Benefits of Building an MVP

So, you're wondering why startups and MVP development agencies are so obsessed with building an MVP, right? Well, the perks of building an MVP are aplenty! 

The concept is simple but ingenious - "Do more with less."

Benefits of MVP

1. Risk Mitigation

For starters, MVPs offer risk mitigation. Your startup is a baby, and MVP is like its first steps, uncertain and shaky but crucial nonetheless. With MVP development, you're not spending a fortune to build an elaborate product right out of the gate. 

Instead, you're creating a version with just the necessary features to satisfy early customers. This approach saves both time and resources.

2. Accelerate Learning

Secondly, MVPs accelerate learning. They act as a launchpad, thrusting your startup mvp development into a cycle of build-measure-learn. By focusing on core features, you gain invaluable insights about your customers. 

  • What do they like? 
  • What isn't working? 

You can ask all these questions and get answers without breaking the bank.

3. Feedback-Rich Environment

Another benefit? MVPs create a feedback-rich environment. When you're starting, feedback is gold! It fuels iteration, improvement, and ultimately success. By releasing your MVP to a small set of users, you can gather this golden feedback and finetune your product.

Now, for the cherry on top - MVPs attract early adopters and potential investors. When you build an MVP, you're not just developing a product; you're crafting a compelling story around it. This story can attract early adopters who are willing to take a leap of faith and investors who see the potential in your idea.

How Do You Create Your MVP? 3 Key Steps Involved 

In the MVP vs EVP debate, MVPs offer a strategic advantage, allowing you to test your idea's viability with minimal resources. They've been successful in countless startups, and with the right approach, yours could be next! 

Building an MVP might seem challenging, but don't worry! Here are the key steps involved in the process.

Step 1. Identifying the Core Features: 

The first step in MVP development for startups involves identifying and outlining the most crucial features that will solve the user's problem.

In the world of MVP vs EVP, the former wins by focusing on what matters most. Identify the core functionalities that your users can't do without. It's like packing for a backpacking trip - only the essentials!

Step 2: Developing a Prototype: 

This is where your MVP begins to take shape. The next step involves the creation of a simple, functional prototype that showcases the core features of your product.

Step 3: Testing and Iterating Based on User Feedback: 

Remember when we said feedback is gold? Here's where you strike it rich. Test your prototype, gather user feedback, and iterate. Rinse and repeat until you hit the sweet spot of user satisfaction. 

Success Stories: Startups That Utilized the MVP Approach

MVPs aren't just a theoretical concept, they're a tried-and-tested strategy. Want proof? Look at these examples of successful startups that used MVP to validate their ideas.

Dropbox: Dropbox began as a simple video explaining the idea of the product. This MVP garnered significant user interest even before the product was developed.

Dropbox MVP

Airbnb: The founders of Airbnb started by renting their apartments and creating a simple website. It was an MVP that validated the demand for a more personal alternative to hotels.

Uber: Uber's MVP was a basic app used only in San Francisco. It only offered a premium black car service. The MVP was a hit, proving the demand for on-demand ride services.

Uber MVP

Zappos: Nick Swinmurn, the founder of Zappos, started by posting photos of shoes from stores and buying them only after customers made a purchase. This validated the idea of an online shoe store.

Twitter: The social media giant started as an internal project within a podcasting company, Odeo. The MVP was a simple SMS-based platform, quite different from the Twitter we know today.


Each of these successful companies started with a simple MVP, proving its worth as an effective method in the 'MVP vs EVP debate.

To understand deeper, consider seeking assistance from an expert MVP development agency like F22 Labs. We can guide you through the process and help align your product with your vision and market needs. 

EVP and Its Significance for Startups

In the ever-dynamic startup landscape, the MVP vs EVP debate is shaping a significant part of the journey.  While building an MVP is a popular strategy for startups, the EVP approach is also gaining momentum.

Cupcake Model

Now, EVP. It stands for Exceptional Viable Product. Still, thinking about cakes? Good. For EVP, instead of a dry sponge cake, you decide to make a cupcake. Not a plain ol' sponge cupcake, though. You go all out. You add some chocolate chips and a dash of vanilla, and top it off with the prettiest swirl of buttercream frosting.

cup cake model MVP

You hand it over to your testers and, lo and behold, they're thrilled! They love cupcakes. You've not only given them a taste, but you've also given them something special, something that feels complete. This is your EVP - a small but delightful slice of what's to come.

The Advantages Of Focusing on The Exceptional Viable Product

So, why should a startup consider developing an EVP? Let's discuss the advantages of this path. An Exceptional Viable Product aims to not just meet, but exceed customer expectations right from the start. It goes beyond mere functionality to deliver an engaging and memorable user experience.

1. Higher Initial Impact: 

MVP development for startups often focuses on a lean, basic product to test the waters. However, an EVP aims for a bigger splash right out of the gate. It's about presenting a polished, sophisticated offering that instantly captures the interest of your market segment.

2. Greater Customer Delight:

While an MVP meets the core needs of customers, an EVP aims to surprise and delight. This approach can foster higher customer satisfaction and loyalty, enhancing the product's long-term success.

3. Potential for Early Market Leadership:

By focusing on exceptional value and quality from the start, startups can position themselves as serious contenders in their market, possibly even emerging as early leaders.

3 Key Steps Involved In Creating an EVP

Building an EVP is a process that requires thoughtful planning and execution. Here are some key steps involved:

Step 1. Identifying the Unique Value Proposition:

What makes your product or service stand out? What unique, exceptional value can it bring to customers? Answering these questions is crucial in the EVP journey.

Step 2. Defining Target Audience and Market Segment:

Understanding who your customers are and what they truly want can help tailor an exceptional product that hits the mark.

Step 3. Building a Compelling Product or Service:

The heart of EVP is delivering an offering that doesn't just work—it excites, it inspires, it sticks.

Success Stories: Startups That Utilized the EVP Approach

Moving on, let's look at a few startups that embraced the EVP approach and reaped early rewards:

Superhuman: This email client didn't just create a functional product—they crafted an exceptional user experience that transformed email productivity, becoming the 'Rolls Royce' of email clients.

Monzo: This fintech startup didn't just build another banking app—they offered a superior user interface and transparent pricing, disrupting the financial sector.

The MVP vs EVP debate is more than just choosing between minimum and exceptional. It's about understanding your startup's vision, resources, and market position to choose the strategy that will bring the most value. 

Whether it's about creating a lean MVP to quickly validate an idea or crafting an exceptional product to make a strong debut, the choice ultimately rests in the hands of the founders. 

The Main Differences Between MVP and EVP 

Now, you're probably wondering: what's the big fuss about MVP vs EVP? Aren't they just fancy tech jargon? 

No, as given in the examples above, MVP is like a dry cake - it's bare, simple, and just enough to understand if your product is worth pursuing. 

EVP is like a cupcake - it's small, it's got flair, and it gives your customers a fuller, more satisfying experience, encouraging them to stick around for more. 

But remember, both models can work depending on what you're baking – err building. The key is to know your ingredients, and your customers, well enough to decide.




Core Concept

Developing a product with just enough features to satisfy early adopters and provide feedback for future product development.

Creating a product that stands out in the market with its exceptional features and unique value proposition.

Cost & Time

More cost-effective and quicker.

More time-consuming and expensive as it strives for exceptionality right from the get-go.


MVPs carry less financial risk due to their lean nature.

EVPs can carry more financial risk due to higher investment in the initial stages.

Market Validation

The MVP approach tests the market with a basic version of the product.

The EVP approach aims to wow the market with an extraordinary first impression.

Feedback and Iterations

MVP is built on the assumption of continuous iterations based on user feedback.

EVP aims to minimize iterations by delivering an exceptional product from the start.


MVP is ideal when entering a less competitive market or testing a unique concept.

EVP is more suitable when entering a highly competitive market where 'exceptional' is the expected norm.

Customer Satisfaction

The MVP can lead to lower initial customer satisfaction due to its basic feature set.

EVP, with its focus on delivering an outstanding product, aims for high initial customer satisfaction.

Investor Attraction

MVPs can attract investors based on potential future development.

EVPs can draw investors with the promise of immediate superior performance.

Brand Image

MVP development might project a "work in progress" image to the customers.

EVP aims to build a robust brand image right from the launch.


MVP tends to focus on learning from the market responses.

EVP's main focus is to lead and dominate the market.

Exploring MVP and EVP: When is Less More?

When is less more with MVP:

  • Startups can use MVPs to validate their business concepts without investing heavily in full-scale product development.
  • Example: Uber initially launched a simple MVP in San Francisco that connected users with black car services. Based on user feedback, they scaled up their offerings.
MVP graph

When is more (EVP) preferable:

  • If the target audience values quality and is willing to pay for it, an EVP could lead to high initial sales and a strong market position.
  • Example: Apple's iPhone, which entered the market as an EVP, offers an exceptional user experience and sets new standards in the smartphone industry.

Framework for Deciding Between MVP and EVP

Choosing between MVP and EVP depends on your startup's unique characteristics and context. Here's a simple framework to help you decide:

Market Dynamics: Evaluate your target market. Is it highly competitive or relatively unexplored? For saturated markets, an EVP might help you stand out. If it's a newer market, an MVP can help you test the waters.

Resources and Time: Evaluate your budget, time, and resources. MVP development for startups is a less resource-intensive option, while EVP may require more resources and time.

Risk Appetite: Determine your risk tolerance. If you're comfortable with a higher risk for potentially higher rewards, consider EVP. If you're more conservative, consider the MVP approach.

Customer Expectations: Assess what your customers expect. If they're demanding a revolutionary product, an EVP might meet those expectations. If they're looking for a solution to a problem and are open to product evolution, an MVP might suffice.

Factors to Consider when Choosing MVP or EVP for Your Startup

How do you decide between MVP vs EVP? Well, it all comes down to your unique circumstances and the various factors at play. 

1. Budget and Resources

When it comes to MVP development for startups, one of the first things to consider is your budget and resources. If you're working with a tight budget or limited resources, an MVP can be a more appealing option. 

Building an MVP focuses on creating a product with just the necessary features to satisfy early customers and gain market feedback. This approach is relatively cost-effective, and hey, many successful startups kicked off with an MVP. 

On the other hand, if you have a substantial budget and can afford to invest in exceptional features from the get-go, then opting for an EVP could be a wise move. Developing an Exceptional Viable Product demands more resources because it strives to make a significant splash right from the start. 

2. Time Constraints

If you need to move quickly, building an MVP might be your best bet. The steps to build an MVP often involve a quicker turn-around time since you're focusing on the essential features. This speedy approach allows you to hit the market swiftly and start gaining valuable user feedback.

But if you have more time on your hands and want to ensure your product stands out at launch, then the EVP approach might be more appropriate. Remember, though, creating an exceptional product often takes a long time because it requires more attention to detail and high-quality execution.

3. Market Conditions and Competition

What are your market's dynamics? If you're entering a new or relatively unexplored market, an MVP startup might be the way to go. You can test the waters with a simple product, learn from user feedback, and iterate accordingly. 

However, if you're diving into a highly competitive market where consumers expect 'the best of the best,' an EVP could be more beneficial.

4. Target Audience and User Preferences

Finally, knowing your target audience and their preferences can significantly influence your decision. Are your potential users expecting a fully-loaded, exceptional product? Then, an EVP might be what you need to wow them. 

But, if they're seeking a solution to a specific problem and are open to a product that evolves based on their feedback, then creating an MVP can be an effective strategy.

Examining MVP vs EVP Through Startup Case Studies

MVP: Startup Case Studies

Zappos: The Shoe-seller MVP

Our first stop on this MVP exploration journey is the American online shoe and clothing retailer, Zappos. Initially, founder Nick Swinmurn was not fully certain if people would buy shoes online. To validate his business idea without investing heavily in inventory, he adopted an ingenious MVP approach.

Zappos MVP

Swinmurn photographed shoes in local stores and posted them online. When customers ordered, he bought the shoes from the stores and shipped them. This startup MVP development strategy allowed him to confirm the market demand with minimal risk. Today, Zappos is a billion-dollar company and a shining example of successful MVP development for startups.

Spotify: Grooving to an MVP Tune

Next, we dance to the beat of Spotify, the popular audio streaming and media services provider. In its early stages, Spotify followed an MVP model to test its product. The company initially launched a barebones music streaming service only in Sweden, offering a limited set of features.

Spotify MVP

As they gathered user feedback, they gradually refined and added features, such as curated playlists and social sharing. Eventually, Spotify expanded into new regions and gained immense popularity, becoming an iconic MVP startup.

EVP: Startup Case Studies

Nest Thermostat: Exceptionality from Day One

In contrast, some startups choose to develop an Exceptional Viable Product (EVP) right off the bat. Nest Thermostat is one such example. When founders Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers introduced their smart thermostat, it was far from a basic version. 

Nest Thermostat

The Nest Thermostat, with its sleek design and AI-driven learning capabilities, was a game-changer in the home automation market. Despite being more expensive than traditional thermostats, Nest captured consumers' attention and dominated the market, demonstrating the power of an EVP.

GoPro: Excellence in Action

Another startup that embarked on an EVP journey is GoPro. Founder Nick Woodman didn't settle for a basic product when he launched the first GoPro camera. Instead, he presented an exceptional, robust, and versatile camera that captured high-quality videos even in extreme conditions.


This outstanding product quickly attracted adventure enthusiasts and professionals alike, allowing GoPro to carve out a niche in the competitive camera market.

Weighing MVP vs EVP

Reflecting on these case studies offers crucial insights into the MVP vs EVP debate. Here are a few key lessons:




Market Validation

Zappos and Spotify used their MVPs to validate market demand and refine their products based on real user feedback.

Nest and GoPro banked on exceptional features and high quality to capture market share.

Risk Management

MVPs like Zappos and Spotify demonstrated lower risk due to minimal initial investments.

EVPs like Nest and GoPro required higher upfront investment, indicating greater financial risk.

User Engagement

MVPs allowed startups to engage with users early, facilitating a co-creation process.

EVPs sought to wow users right from the first interaction, striving for immediate high user satisfaction.

Both MVP and EVP strategies can lead to startup success. However, MVP holds a certain appeal with its lean, iterative approach, making it an ideal choice for many startups. Particularly, if you're seeking a partner for your MVP development for the startup's journey, consider F22 Labs. We're well-versed in shaping minimum viable product examples into real-world successes. 

Final Thoughts 

If your startup aims to gain quick insights, validate assumptions, and swiftly pivot based on user feedback, an MVP development for startups can be your pathway to success. On the other hand, if you're ready to stake your claim in a highly competitive market with a differentiated and polished product, then building an Exceptional Viable Product may be your chosen strategy.

For many startups, however, the advantages of an MVP approach are compelling. Startups are all about rapid learning, swift adaptation, and course corrections based on user feedback. By leveraging MVPs, startups can quickly and cost-effectively determine whether their product has a market fit, learn from customer interactions, and iterate from there.

Begin your journey with F22 Labs, your trusted MVP software development agency. We provide comprehensive startup mvp development services to help bring your innovative ideas to life. Contact us today to discuss your ideas, and let's take the first steps to build an MVP that resonates with your target audience. 

The road to startup success starts here. Let's journey together.


Author Detail

Author-Murtuza Kutub
Murtuza Kutub

A product development and growth expert, helping founders and startups build and grow their products at lightning speed with a track record of success. Apart from work, I love to network & Travel.


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