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54 Comments

How long did it take to build your MVP?

How long did it take to build your MVP?

Currently I am working on it full time on my project. At first I thought it would take about a month to release an MVP, but I'm realizing it will take me much longer, probably around 3-4 months.

  1. 11

    Thank you, guys! Before this thread, I thought it was only we who had been building an MVP several months already and still didn't finish (videotouch.io)

    There are too many twitter threads how people built an MVP in a week and made several thousand in a month. I believe it happens, but it is pretty rare.

    1. 2

      Same here! I'm a fan of building and launching quickly but when building an MVP it's a challenge/tight line between something that brings value and an empty promise.

    2. 2

      Yeah, it for sure can vary a lot by the type of app/product you are building. Some are faster and easier to profit than others. While some have a much higher minimum bar to reach to be a good MVP

  2. 4

    It depends on your startup idea.
    Some startup founders working on simple startups take some weeks instead of months to build and launch an MVP.

  3. 4

    Took about a year full-time to build the MVP for divjoy.com ($6k/m). In retrospect, probably could have gotten it out earlier 🤷‍♂️

    1. 2

      It seems logical with a project like that, probably a lot of code and UI/UX decisions. It looks pretty cool!

  4. 3

    My plan is 1 month but now has not to finish yet lol. It's not 2010 anymore. Ppl want something nice in 2021. Has to polish my MVP.

    Btw I'm full-time.

    1. 2

      I don't know about that. If you're providing something people want that the market isn't serving, you can have a very ugly offering to get started with.

      As PG says, it's about the "quantum of utility". If your product is janky and fails around various edges but still has the ability to do something people want, you can launch and get users. After polishing those rough edges, you can get more users.

      1. 1

        Exactly @alchemist. My saas is more like an optimization of an existing product in the market, not a solution to an unsolvable problem, so in this case, I don't seem to have much choice. I can only polish the mvp to be as good as possible before DL.

  5. 2

    Hey @pjoe ! As a freelancer working with startups & also making my own products I find that it always takes a lot longer to make an MVP than initially anticipated!

    I think that there's nothing wrong with taking a few months to develop something that you are happy with and that will bring value to your users. It took me a couple months to build the MVP for CtrlAlt.CC (and I am still building it, just in Beta and with users now)

    But imo building should be step 2, after you've validated your idea with a more basic form of your product, be it just a landing page that explains what your product will do & why it benefits users or even a pitch deck.

    I actually made preMVP to create "preMVPs" for people so that they can use them in front of potential customers and validate their ideas, before spending any time building :)

  6. 2

    Friend, It's taken me over 2 years to build my MVP. At this point it's not even an MVP, I should probably call it an MMMVPP😂😂😂

    Anyway it will be at https://www.mock0.com

    Best of luck and keep moving.

  7. 2

    Hi Pjoe,

    There's no perfect timeline for an MVP. It could be as short as a few days, or as long as a few weeks but if it takes more than a month, I believe it's not an MVP.

    It took about 3 weeks to define what the problem was before we could move on with our MVP development. And then It took around 15 days to build the MVP.

    I think It is super important to talk to users before you decide to build your MVP. This helps with understanding if your MVP is going to have a significant impact when it comes out. Asking for feedback from these people can also help cut down on any features that may not be interesting in the market, which will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.

    Btw, we've built a tool called Fastlaunch.io (https://fastlaunch.io) to validate your idea before building the MVP.

    It helps you create multiple (& multi-lingual) well tested high-converting landing pages instantly and runs A/B tests automatically and helps you build your audience with viral wait-lists)

  8. 2

    Similar to yourself we had originally planned ~ 1month to build Product HQ but it actually took 2-3months. It was definitely more of a polished product after 3 months rather than a strict MVP.

    If I was to start again I'd definitely 'launch' it within the first week or two just to get a sense of interest from the community.

    *I'll add we worked on this part-time as we both had full time jobs.

  9. 2

    We launched the first version of our product with absolutely no tech behind it, just a couple months after coming up with the idea. The landing page itself probably took a week or two to polish, but it was as simple as they come. It was a true bare-bones MVP. Users could input a who they were gift shopping for into a plain form, and we (the co-founders) would manually search for and recommend them gifts via email. We promoted this through some super basic FB ads (spending around $40).

    The reception to the concept was great, so we set off on the journey to build a true tech-enabled gift recommendation UX. This took about a year to get where we are today — a relatively polished (in our opinion), solid gift recommender, but still an MVP. You be the judge, though! https://www.outdone.io

    I'd recommend to do whatever you can to get some customer validation before putting months of work in — even if this means getting outside your comfort zone to interview potential customers or launch an LP you aren't very proud of!

  10. 2

    Took exactly 2 months to build the MVP for Page2API - yet another Web Scraping API.
    1-4 hours/day of hard work during weekdays (because of 9-to-5 full-time job), 1-10 hours/day during weekends.

  11. 2

    It took me 3-4 months to build APITemplate.io, I built another product CraftMyPDF.com around 3 months too.

    The most important thing is validation and marketing though, so better ship your product fast and get feedback.

  12. 1

    Here's is a nice article with everything that you can possible need about MVP duration.
    here

    TL;DR

    1. It definitely has to do with the product that you're building and how complicated the dev is. (MedTech 💉 vs. OS Live Chat tool🔊)

    2. On average it takes four months to build an MVP

    3. Napkin Idea: there is no point in trying to predict how long it will take to build your MVP until you fully understand the underlying difficulties of your product in the dev and designing phase.

    Key parts along the way to always keep in mind:
    🏴‍☠️ What's the Value Proposition?
    ❓ What are the Assumptions to validate?
    ⚡ Fastest way to Validate the Assumptions?

    On our product, it took 3 months from inception to creation of the MVP 🐣➡🐥
    I've made an IH article here about the transition of tech stack along the way for anyone interested 👉here

    If you want to supercharge your MVP phase, you can use our product pricewell to set up, collect and manage subscription without coding in less than 20 mins⚡

  13. 1

    In my opinion, it shouldn't take more than a week to build an MVP. You should just add the most basic functionality to your web/app and release it in public and then iterate on the releases.

    I have built my two products which took not more than 7 days each:

    https://sideinvest.io
    https://convertx.io

  14. 1

    For the context - I'm speaking about https://flat.social - a videoconferencing app that works like a multiplayer game.

    The first roughest MVP took me around a week - I literally glued some code together to make a video app in which you could move around. It wouldn't scale beyond 5 concurrent users and looked absolutely awful. People had fun using it though.

    The more "polished" MVP where users could sign up and the app would actually scale to the point of usefulness - around 4 months.

  15. 1

    Hey pjoe,

    My current startup took about 2 months of product development and 3 months of technical development, but as others have pointed out, there is no simple way to know how much time you will take/need.

    In my experience, the path to an MVP can be broken down into a few areas

    • Opportunity identification & problem definition
    • user story & ui/ux
    • minimum viable product
    • minimum loveable product

    There is no recepie for this as these stages can be non-linear (going backwards) and concurrent (e.g. developing backend while ui is figured out)

    In my experience, the first two stages take the most time as you will be iterating the problem against design and user story. Nailing down what you are making (knowing things will change on the way) will probably take 1-3 months to get right. At some point, you'll begin developing an MVP to validate the solution-- this will probably take 1-3 months. Finally, you'll want to spend another 1-2 months to ensure your MVP becomes a loveable product that can have growth (moving from proving technical feasiblity to proving user desirability).

    Ultimately, this process can take a month or it can take a year. It is dictated by factors such as market need, ease of development, team size, team experience, etc.

    The most important thing is that you can validate the problem and solution as fast as possible, while keeping capital costs down. If you can do this is 2 months with $5000 great, the factors above can make this be 12 months and $50000, which begins to sound like too much to prove the product.

    Finally, I'll say that your time is worth money! So don't put too much time in developing a product, while not continously validating your probrem/solution with users

  16. 1

    So far, 2 MVPs, both 6-9 months 😑. Both started out as "oh, I can build that in a weekend" kind of projects.

  17. 1

    I thought it would be 2-3 months, but now at 9 months, we are just getting users into a Private Beta. Mobile apps take longer and if they do anything more than sit on top of a spreadsheet, no-code isn't really an option.

    1. 1

      I should mention that BEFORE we build the real app, I built a form in Word Press that simulated the app onboarding and spent $1,000 on Google SEM to see if I could get customers to go through many screens and enter lots of info for our proposed product. That test took a few weeks to complete.

  18. 1

    1.5 years full-time, still not done... I feel like I'm breaking every rule in startups, but I'm still going

  19. 1

    It took 2-3 days to build the MVP for ideabot.io, but it's a "just an automated newsletter".

    It only took this much because I've never worked with Mailchimp API before, so I had to figure out a few things.

  20. 1

    It took me ~6 months to finish the MVP for GymBuddy (was working on it as a side project alongside a full time job), and I released it as a private beta on TestFlight for me and my friends. I didn't actually launch it to the public until around 5 months after the initial private beta launch, mostly because I felt like it wasn't ready. In hindsight I do wish I had launched it sooner, because a lot of the functionality I added to the app before launch ended up not being functionality that my users actually needed or wanted

  21. 1

    You should build MVP as fast as possible, even neglecting technical clearness. Your main goal - to validate your idea and receive customer feedback as soon as possible. This will help you to build exactly what people need and to not waste your time by building something that will not be valued.

    1. 1

      I 100% agree,
      Before I started to build my app I created a fake landing page and I was running google campaign for a week.
      The CTR was quite good on the campaign.

  22. 1

    For me it took me about a month.

    If I had stuck with my original plan of all the features I wanted, it probably would have taken 3-4 months.

    The key is to do many rounds of "do I really need this?", then build the next feature you do really need. Once you do this a few times you'll move many features from planned to backlog.

  23. 1

    Depending on the complexity and the nature of the project. It took our team 2 months for both https://sobreezy.com and https://apps.apple.com/us/app/bento-compare-food-delivery/id1532680385.

    For our current project https://www.airsnap.io/, we just got started with our private beta after about 4 months.

    I've seen someone launching 30 "apps" in 30 days. He basically just launches a product on Product Hunt daily with just a landing page and some mockups. Depending on the number of upvotes, he would eliminate the poor-performing ideas and only pursue the popular ones. I guess that is one way to validate the idea.

    However, some products can be quite niche and this method won't work well since the idea doesn't necessarily appeal to the general public.

  24. 1

    One challenge with this question is that we end up taking everything we learned/accumulated in past projects to our next project.

    For @joshuaanderton and I on Meeps it was about 2 months before we started inviting folks to use it, but he was able to bring in a lot of the scaffolding from previous projects.

  25. 1

    Built mine for about 2.5 months… felt slow to me as well

  26. 1

    Look like we are the team that has the longest journey here. 😄

    Three people in the core team, bootstrapping almost 4 years in full-time.

    The product is just a half side. The half left is developed ourselves.

    1. 2

      Yay, someone else on a 4 year timeline! Keep it up

  27. 1

    I think I had something minimal up and running within about 3 months.

    Of course it was missing a lot of stuff. But it was enough to sell the idea and gain some first customers.

  28. 1

    One of the previous (failed) projects I was able to build within two weeks, but I could work on that almost full-time.
    With the current one - 2 months as I was able to spend maximum one hour per day

  29. 1

    Way. To. Long. 7 months in and I'm STILL building it. :(

  30. 1

    I’m probably way over the limit for MVP timeframes.

    I’m looking at roughly 8 months to get turbonav.com out the door, and I still feel it’s not ready!

    4-5 months part-time and 3 months full-time. yup I quit my job to become an indie hacker.

    I soft-launched 3 weeks ago and slowly getting positive feedback. Gotta find ways to share the project, so thinking about this more. I thought it was going to take 3 months, but here I am, after building “one more feature”

  31. 1

    It took us 6m to build our MVP.

  32. 1

    I think it really depends on what you are creating. Some products/apps are quicker to a MVP state, others are longer.
    Something to ask yourself: are you really making the true minimum viable product"? Can you cut scope to get a usable initial product? I know I always struggle with this

    Right now, I am building Boomerang.link, a bookmark reminder and bookmark manager tool. Originally I set out to build the MVP in 2 weeks. The REAL MVP. Cutting scope and trying to keep it light. It has been nearly 2 months, with my new goal to launch a usable MVP for public access by the end of December.

  33. 1

    It took me around a year. I probably waited a little too long to be honest, I could have likely released it a little sooner than I did. I wasn't working on it full time though either, it was just in my spare time, so evenings after work and weekends.

  34. 1

    It took me roughly 6 weeks to finish the MVP for burplist.me, a search engine for craft beer in SG

  35. 1

    I worked on the MVP for codeit.codes for about a month. The hardest part was saying: “Ok. It’s good enough.” and launching it. The urge to perfect the product was very strong, but I knew putting it out there would be better.

  36. 1

    1 week from idea to building buymeachai.in.

  37. 1

    @pjoe I'm curious what you want to archieve by asking this question. Is it to start a conversation about MVP and how quick it should be built?

    Most of the answers below don't mention 1 thing. How many time they've actually spent on building their MVP. A MVP could take 1,5 years to complete, but if the time is limited and you are only able to work on your MVP lets say 4 hours a week, then it might be reasonable. If you are working full-time on your MVP, you might be able to build it a whole lot quicker.

    So without actually knowing how much time is spent on a MVP, the number of days, weeks, months or even years is irrelevant to me. It should be about how much time is put into the MVP in my opinion.

    1. 2

      You are absolutely right. I wanted to mention also in the post that I just started a web app which helps companies to integrate new employees into their organization, kind of onboarding tool.
      Currently I am working on it full time, at the beginning I tough it will take to release the MVP around 1 month, but it will take much more around 3-4 month

  38. 1

    For Fabulous.so, it took me about 2 1/2 months. The longest it ever took me to build an MVP. But with a full-time job it's not always easy to find time for your side hustle. I think you should take your time and even though people say "you should be able to build your MVP in 4-6 weeks", they often don't respect full-time jobs or other duties

  39. 1

    4 weeks to build the VentureCards MVP platform. But I spent 4 weeks beforehand thinking about and creating the promo website. That seems a lot for the promotional pages, but I think having something to help sell an MVP is key, so a couple of month in total, from lightbulb to we're open for business is acceptable.

  40. 1

    Working toy concept w/ landing page in about 7-15 days.
    Minimum Viable Product in 4 months.
    Started sales before launch.

  41. 1

    Took me over a year working full time to build MockRocket.io, my 3D animated app mockup generator. All my past projects and businesses have been more like 2 days to 1 month max. In my experience it depends a lot on the complexity of the project and your mindset going in. Developing something as a quick side project can be nice because it forces me to ruthlessly prioritize and not overthink it (Vs building something full time with the intention of creating a business)

  42. 1

    Several weeks, then I decided to improve edge cases and it took 3 months. All of that is not full-time. But then I pivoted and another MVP took me 2 weeks.

  43. 1

    Too long, in my case, almost 1.5 years. I thought having more people in the team would make things quicker, but it was the opposite. It should take a maximum of two months.

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