What is an MVP and how does it relate to SBIR/STTR

  • June 14, 2022

MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. MVPs are not a finished product but present enough key features to attract early-adopter customers and validate a product idea early in the product development cycle. An MVP is a critical component in product development because it provides a prototype that can be used to validate assumptions about marketability and product performance before the more in-depth and expensive final build.


For any research project including SBIR, an MVP is very important because it can provide feasibility and act as a go/no-go milestone for further research. As all SBIR projects are unproven and high-risk by nature, it is helpful to have an MVP to prove feasibility before pursuing further research grants (Phase II) or seeking additional funding. As with any MVP, SBIR can be used to validate customer assumptions. Marketability is every bit as important in SBIR as technical feasibility.

In fact, given that SBIR Phase I is only a six-month window, it is arguable that providing an MVP is the entire purpose of SBIR, at least concerning Phase I R&D. We always advise our customers to focus on MVP during this phase with the knowledge that if successful they can perform deeper research and add new features in Phase II and beyond.

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