Congrats on finding that fabulous idea for your startup!

The next step is to realise the idea’s viability and feasibility and discover if it actually works. Especially in software product development, you need to find your idea is feasible.

When it comes to building a product, many startups jump into building a prototype very early on and then go to the market with “something” rather than proving the concept. This leads to a lot of confusion and the question is, when should you build a prototype, and when should you “prove” the concept?

Should you choose a prototype or proof concept for your startup? This blog will help you find out the best option.

Let’s get started.

Key takeaways

      • Before choosing one, it’s better to know your project requirements
      • POC and Prototype – Both can be used to raise funding
      • Understand customers better with prototypes
      • Attract investors better with proof of concept

What is a software prototype?

A prototype is a visualisation of your idea, where you can see – How your product works?

It consists of user flows and basic design elements.

It may be a pencil sketch on paper or a mere functional app with basic features.

Prototypes don’t demand a large budget or resources. With a prototype, you can evaluate your product design and work progress.

It can be used for both

      • Creating a unique version of an already existing product (or )
      • A completely new product

Different types of prototype

      • Pencil sketching
      • 3D printing
      • Video prototype
      • Wireframe

Use of prototype

      • Rapid designing
      • Minimum recoding
      • Early detection of errors
      • Can be kept as a reference for future use
      • Can be tested with a few users
      • Helps validate the idea

Easy Tips for Creating a Prototype Faster

Understand your idea

Know exactly how you are going to address the pain points of your customers

Know your customer

Do deep research to understand your customer. Create a customer persona.

Comprehend your requirements

Specify why are you creating the prototype. The answer may be

      • To attract investors
      • To understand how your product functions
      • To have a look at the product’s design
      • To collect feedback from target customers

Choose a type

Choose which type of prototype will be suitable for your requirement. If you are building a prototype to attract investors, you can create a video prototype for better understanding.

Build your product prototype

Build your initial prototype if you are not satisfied. You can create an improved version of the prototype.

Example of Prototype

Dropbox

Dropbox used a video explaining the function and use of Dropbox before they developed the product. After they found a good market, they went to create the product.

What is POC?

Proof of concept (POC) is developing the product’s important features using the same technology (Which will be used in product development) to find the startup idea’s validity. To check if the product works or not. The answer will be simple – Yes or No.

It confirms that the proposed product or idea will work before developing the full-fledged product.

POC is mainly for new ideas, not for an improved version of existing ideas.

Proof of concept will be used in the very early stage of the startup.

Use of POC

Proof of concept will be more useful in,

      • Finding out the technical difficulties while developing the product
      • Attracting investors by showing the replica of the product
      • Eliminating certain failures beforehand
      • Best to find a failure in POC than a blown-out project
      • Determining what resources you need
      • Saving a lot of time, resources and effort
      • Helping team members understand what you are going to build exactly
      • Testing various technologies with fewer efforts

Better used for

      • New ideas
      • Unique ideas
      • New approach
      • Implementing new technologies

How to create a POC in 3 easy steps

1. Research

    • Understand your customer and create a customer persona.
    • Outline the problem you are going to address.

2. Comprehend the solution

    • Explain the solution.
    • List out the features needed according to the customer persona.

3. Build the Proof of concept

    • Create a POC based on the feedback and how well the product works.
    • You can create a proof of concept. It may be a document or presentation.

Examples of proof of concept

Gaming

Have you ever noticed that gaming platforms have different games inside single apps? They are testing the next possible app on their already existing platform.

Airbnb

Airbnb started its website only to rent its founder’s own apartment. Once they found the potential market and their system could actually work, they scaled it to the next level.

Proof of concept vs Prototype

Proof of Concept
Prototype
Purpose
To understand your product or idea is viable To see how your product works and find the flaws
Definition
To perform an initial test of your idea To build a working model of your product
Target audience
Internal employee and investors Investors and early target customers
Form of implementation
Can be a document, presentation or video Can be a video, landing page or a mere working product
When to build
When the product/idea is new to product Before developing your product
Resource needed
Needed minimum resources and budget Need an estimated budget and simple resources
Risk evaluated
Reduce the risk of developing a different product or a product which doesn’t work as you intend. Reduce the risk of user satisfaction
User interaction
Very minimum There will be some interaction when tested with early users.
Further use
Can be used as a reference point while developing Can be used while developing the product
When can you show to investors
Pre-seed/Seed Seed/Round A

What suits your project?

Before you choose between POC and Prototype, you need to look at the requirements of your project.

Proof of concept says your idea can be a business. Are there any issues while creating the product?

Prototype lets you feel the product and shows you where you may fall in development and how can you build your end product.

When to choose the Proof of Concept

      • If your idea is new to the market
      • You are not sure about the idea or product’s feasibility
      • Need to attract investors at the very early stage of your startup

When to choose the Prototype

      • If you want to build an improved version of an existing product
      • When you have a lot of competitors and check if your idea is feasible
      • To attract better investment by showing the product to investors

If you have a fresh or unique idea, you can start with Proof of concept and then evolve to Prototype and move further to Minimum Viable Product.

Software prototype vs proof of concept – it will be a tricky choice, but if you know what you are going to do with it. Then the choice will be clear to some extent.

Conclusion

We hope this blog gave you an idea about proof of concept vs prototype. But things get clear when we start to work on it.

Understand your requirement earlier and research beforehand to make a smart choice.

If you need help in building a prototype or MVP, you can contact any experienced product development company to build it for you.

Looking for a reliable software development partner? Get in touch with our experts for a free consultation now!

Bonus FAQs

No, both are different. Proof of concept (POC) is a simple presentation showing that your product will work. The prototype is a functional product indicating that your idea can be made into a product.

There are possibilities of using anyone in your development stage. You can create a proof of concept, then a prototype and move on to MVP.

POC is not a functional product, but a functional prototype is a basic product which shows how your product works.

MVP is a functional product of your product with basic features, but prototypes are functional products but show only whether your idea can be changed into a product or not.

To validate your idea or product and attract investors at the early stage of the product development. You can also test the viability of your idea by using it among your team.

Rapid prototyping, Interactive prototyping, and Evolutionary prototyping are the types of prototyping used by most software projects. Understand about different types of prototypes here.

Proof of concept (POC), Minimum viable product (MVP), and Prototype all help you find your startup idea or product can be made into a functionable product. It enables you to avoid dangers before investing a lot of resources, time and money.

Proof of concept shows the feasibility of the product; Prototype shows the product’s viability, and Pilot shows whether the client uses your product or not.

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