How did Airbnb MVP look like

5 successful startups with the MVP method

In order to develop a so-called minimal viable product - i.e. a minimally viable product - the phases Build, Measure and Learn are essential. It's about building a prototype, getting feedback from customers and using this as a basis to improve the prototype. Then you start from the beginning. For many startups, this principle, which Eric Ries describes in his book “The lean startup”, is a guarantee of success. In the following article we will introduce you to five startups that have acted according to this principle.


One of the most famous cloud storage systems in the world is Dropbox. In 2007 one of the two founders, Drew Housten, recognized a problem that many people had in everyday life: files had to be saved, but the necessary USB memory stick was not at hand. A first idea was then quickly developed together with the second founder, Arash Ferdoski, and the associated MVP was immediately popular with potential investors: a personal storage location on the Internet that could also be shared with other users. With the necessary venture capital, the foundation stone for one of the most successful cloud storage systems of today was laid.


As a counterpart to the German Zalando, Zappos is the world's largest online shop for shoes. The founder at the time, Nick Swinmurn, adapted the MVP method in a particularly simple manner by taking photos of shoes in stationary shoe stores and listing them as products in his online shop. If a customer ordered a model of a shoe, Nick bought the pair in the respective store and mailed it to the customer. It quickly became clear that online shoe retailing was in great demand. Its business model was so successful that Amazon secured its startup for $ 850 million. Nick Swinmurn is still a prime example of a lean startup.


The story is now well known: Airnbnb arranges more overnight stays per year worldwide than the five largest hotel chains combined and does not own a single room, let alone a building. Airbnb is a pure brokerage platform and generates its turnover, which should now be around three billion dollars, solely from the commission of the room brokerage. The company is only ten years old and had a relatively difficult and long start-up phase. Only after two years did the founders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk receive their first noteworthy funding from the well-known startup financing Y Combinator. This allowed them to develop their MVP further and prove that the business model works. Today Airbnb makes it easier for people traveling around the world to find a room and helps make money out of unused property. A classic win-win situation.


Originally invented as a podcast platform under the name Odeo, the idea was discarded relatively quickly when Itunes penetrated the podcast market. Jack Dorsey's founders reacted and founded “twttr” in 2006, the world's first microblogging service. Between the year it was founded and 2015, when Twitter reached its zenith, the number of users rose to a remarkable 300 million users. Although the service today has one or the other challenge with monetization - it is still an indispensable part of the media world.


Android, now known as Google’s operating system for smartphones, was founded in 2003 as a startup by Andy Rubin and was originally a controller for digital cameras. After the founder realized through the Lean Startup method that the market was too small to grow significantly, he adapted his original business model and developed software for smartphones as an MVP. In 2005, Google secured the startup for 50 million dollars from today's perspective, thus laying the foundation for the most widespread smartphone operating system of all. Android is a particularly good example of the realignment of the product idea, which is promoted in particular by the approach of the lean startup method.

Do you have any questions or need help with this topic? Do not hesitate to contact us. We like to help you.

Contact Person:Ute Seelig or Martin Stoll

Here is another interesting article on the development of the SaaS market: SaaS Development