Taguspark Incubator: From An Idea To A First MVP

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Miguel Matos, General Manager of Taguspark Incubator, talks about the steps to building a MVP, what makes it successful and shares his advice for young entrepreneurs. Read more!

Now-a-days many people launch their startup, bring their ideas from scratch to life, but inevitably some fail. Most of them due to a lack of a good strategy which then is not executed properly from the beginning on – before even having the first minimum viable product (MVP). To disclosure the steps between having an idea and creating a MVP we interview Taguspark Incubator’s General Manager, Miguel Matos.

Taguspark Incubator was renewed in 2012, in the Technological Park called Taguspark, in Oeiras – Portugal. It has an area of 2000 sqm, in which it holds an Open Space for entrepreneurs in the Pre-Incubation process to develop their ideas. The Incubator also offers many offices that are used for entrepreneurs in the Incubation or Business Development process. The main area the incubator is active in are IT, communications, renewable energies, biotech and life sciences. Their most known startups are Talkdesk, Digisfera, and Seedrs. Their philosophy is to gather the business environment with education and investigation institutions and with investors.

When, in your incubation process, does the first MVP appear?

We have 3 phases in our incubation model, pre-incubation, incubation and business development. The MVP is developed during the first phase.

Is MVP the same as a prototype? Why is it important to differentiate them?

A prototype is a walking skeleton, it just has the functionality and there are no worries about joining the offer with the market. Also a Mockup is different because it just highlights the core functionalities. A MVP has an objective of joining the functionality and is aiming at other entities.

What are the required steps to pass before building the first MVP?

Well, before building a MVP a viable idea has to exist. It also needs a good team to develop the idea, a good notion of the user flow, the development of a prototype with the basic functionality desired and then improvement, e.g. trying to fit features so you can have clients besides users and to understand the market.

These steps are important because later on we will do these things over and over again. If they work well and the first MVP is built – does it have a high probability to be successful?

Yes, if a good MVP exists it ends up to be a mature product. So the next step would be to get more and more clients, and for that a startup has to have a very good understanding of the market they try to enter, but also keeping in touch with their clients to get continuous feedback and at the same time having regular meetings with the members of their team, discussing strategy, client’s needs, main goals (e.g. Can we extend or should we adapt? What’s the effort if we add new features in the next release?) If it went well so far – with gradual improvements of course – there are high probabilities to keep succeeding.

What focus must the idea have? What kind of ideas are more successful?

Firstly we must be aware that there are good ideas which are not successful because they don’t have a market they fit in. So the first thing to do is to confront the idea with the interest of my target audience – this could be done via an acceleration program or directly going to clients and ask for their feedback: whether they are interested or not, which features they would like to see in a product or service etc.

So an idea that solves a necessity is more likely to succeed?

It tends to be better and has a higher probability to succeed but success cannot be guaranteed and that means two things: either the idea is already solved partially by another product / service or the client doesn’t valorize the problem solved by the product as a great need.

What makes a good team?

The definition of a good team starts with the size: normally it should exceed 3 people. In tech-startups there must exist a minimum business background, so 1 or 2 team members can focus on developing the business while the rest is developing the product or service.

So there has to be someone concerned with sales and business strategy and someone focused on developing the MVP and new features?

Yes, at least those teams are more likely to succeed with their idea.

Idea functionality & user flow – why do we need it?

Before starting to work on the product there has to be an elaborated, defined way to avoid distractions. Two approaches can be useful here: go near clients and users to ask for feedback, discover the most and least valorized features, strong points of the product, study the product and the market. The other way is to search the entire market for solutions that indirectly solve the problem. Design a set of criteria with a very lean approach so the development goes smoothly.

For students in college that want to create their own company – what is the best advice that you can give?

Make it work. Try your best, and remember that the success doesn’t always come at first, second or third time, but one thing is for certain: if you give it your all and persist every lessons learned will count. And people must try, must take risks, so don’t be afraid of failure because even if you go to work in another company they will take that in account as a strong point.



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