Building an MVP - comparison of different approaches

Post by 
Marek Pietrzak

Building an MVP of a project for fintech companies and other industries

The time from idea to launch is crucial for startups. Being first to market can give a significant advantage over competitors, therefore it is key to create a working version of the product as soon as  possible. On the other hand, creating an expensive product only to find out there is no market for it, is not optimal. We will try to show different ways of building MVP for fintechs and other industries, and what considerations you need to take into account when starting your project - whether it is a new venture within a large corporation or whether you are trying to launch your own startup with friends from university.

Comparison of costs and time - MVP with no-code vs coding

The cost and time of building an MVP can vary significantly. A lot depends on the product you want to build - whether it is a simple invoicing tool or a new challenger bank, however the way you structure and define the minimum viable product is equally important. You need to remember that an MVP means creating enough features that will enable the customers to use your product and assess it and give you feedback, but nothing more than that. 

Let’s say you want to create an online accounting platform that is connected to a company’s banking account and simplifies accounting by linking transactions with the accounting books. For an MVP you decide to build a platform that enables clients to create invoices, send them automatically to their client, receive payments or send reminders when a payment has not been done and perform simple calculations such as adding the invoice to your P&L. You also want to add an additional option of adding cost invoices, having an option to pay them and book them in your P&L. You believe this would be enough to receive initial feedback, as it will show your customers the easiness of working with your online platform to simplify their daily tasks and also give you a starting point to building your actual product.

We would like to build:

  • User interface where a user can create invoices and add cost invoices as well as see his P&L
  • Interface for clients to pay invoices
  • Backend that enables creating invoices, receiving payments, sending emails, calculating P&L

Let’s consider two alternatives of creating the above MVP and try to assess their costs and the time needed to build them. Option 1 is the standard way with software developers, option 2 is building an MVP with no-code platforms.

In case of option 1, we will need a frontend and backend developers, UX/UI designer, and a business person who would be responsible for the financial parts and for managing the project.

The main tasks will include:

  • Designing and creating application & website mockup
  • Developing interfaces and the webpage
  • Developing login and safety checks, emails, P&L, payments functionalities; connecting database to the app
  • Preparing mechanism for P&L calcs
  • Managing the team and work progress
  • Testing

The estimated time to finish the above tasks is 3 to 4 weeks.

The main costs would be the salaries, domain and hosting as well as other smaller costs. See below for cost calculations:

  • Frontend developer: salary of 3,500 EUR - 3 weeks => 2,625 EUR
  • Backed developer: salary of 4,000 EUR - 3 weeks => 3,000 EUR
  • UX/UI designer: 2,500 EUR salary - 1 week => 625 EUR
  • Business person: salary of 3,500 EUR - 2 weeks => up to 1,750 EUR 
  • Other costs including domain, hosting, database: 150 EUR
  • Total cost: 8,150 EUR

In case of option 2, we would just need a business person who could use no-code platforms. In this particular project let’s decide to use Webflow for the webpage and Bubble for the application / backend as well as Sendgrid for emails (for better designs). The main tasks will include:

  • Buying Webflow template 
  • Buying Bubble template 
  • Adjusting Webflow template - mainly texts and photos
  • Adjusting Bubble template - adding P&L and emails, adding other functionalities if needed or in case of choosing a different template, adding payments plugin from Stripe
  • Creating emails with Sendgrid
  • Finalising and making any other adjustments needed
  • Testing

The estimated time to complete the above tasks is c. 2-3 weeks

The main costs will be salary, no-code platform fees, templates that will be used as well as domain and hosting. See below for costs calculations:

  • Salary of business person: 3,500 EUR monthly salary - 2/3 weeks => up to 2,625 EUR
  • Webflow template: 49 USD and Bubble template: 199 USD => 210 EUR 
  • Webflow and Bubble subscriptions with own domain: 45 USD per month  => c. 150 EUR  assuming 4 months 
  • Other costs including domain, hosting: 100 EUR
  • Total cost: 3,085 EUR

As shown, building an MVP with no-code platforms might be quicker and more cost efficient. Is it ideal? No, and it will not always be the right way to go, but it can be a viable option especially for a business person or if time and money are of the essence and a quick MVP needs to be created for instance to show to an accelerator during an application process.

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