There are a number of different schools of thought about what defines a company’s minimal viable product, most often shortened to “MVP.” Coined by well-known American entrepreneur Eric Ries, the term essentially refers to the most pared-down example of a product that can possibly be offered to users that provides them some value. In other words, an MVP is far more than an idea—it’s a working example of that idea (or set of ideas) that’s just functional and far enough into its design to show proof of concept.
Think of it like this: Your company has a niche concept for a product with a ton of potential for funding and investment opportunities. The problem, however, is that investors don’t invest in ideas—they need something tangible to work with before blindly throwing money toward a concept that may never take off. The extent of what your product may be capable of has yet to be realized, however, and it may take funding/time/research/additional factors to get there.
The solution? Release a product that speaks to what you’re attempting to achieve in its most basic, functional form—this is your MVP.