MVPs, POCs and Ideas: which ICOs should I invest in and which will let me down?

Many ICOs we see around are all about a team and a vision, not so much showcasing a concrete product or active users. They build on the promise that, once the ICO will succeed, they will implement their vision and start putting the product together. Fair enough, but a new trend is starting to arise. ICOs being launched from a team having an actual POC, or even a product on the market.

So which ICOs should you invest into? Those having a MVP or a POC, or those having a great idea that can potentially contribute to the community?

MVP vs POC vs A great idea

First of all, let me clarify what these acronyms mean. POC stands from Proof of Concept, meaning a technical prototype that addresses and includes an (at least basic) implementation of the core features the product should have, thus proving them. MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product, and that stands for a product that has been already given to real users and is successfully being adopted by them.

The difference, is that while a POC can be seen as a collection of features, MVP is not. MVP is a stage of the product, that includes the proof that it solves a real problem for users, so that they are actually finding benefit in adopting the product.

An idea, well, that’s an idea, but read on to see how every idea can be strengthened to reduce your investment risks.

Validation is the answer

To answer the question above, you should always evaluate 3 key factors when investing in an ICO:

  1. The team: the team is the paramount element for ICOs. A real, co-located, team of people showing a track record of achievements is a credibility boost for your investment.
  2. The vision: the vision is also a pivotal factor. A good team raising millions with their ICO should be able to articulate and execute on a vision that can really create something innovating, i.e. contributing to the blockchain ecosystem, to the crypto community and the society in general.
  3. The product/MVP: this is the part we are putting under the magnifying lens today.

Many teams rely only on points 1. And 2., some have a POC, and very few can already showcase an MVP. All cases are valid, but those more reliable for your investments are those products that have gone through a thorough round of validation. Below you find a better clue of what validation means:

  • MVPs are by definition validated, since they come with attached real users and market traction.
  • POCs validate the technical side of the product, but don’t say much about the business part and the users’ side.
  • Having just an idea is not enough. You should have at least tested the idea, built some UX prototype and interviewed qualitatively and/or quantitatively a number of potential customers, having done market research and produced an iteration of your initial idea.

Teams that didn’t build an MVP should have least bothered validating their ideas, or their ICO would be way less valuable for investors as there is no evidence of the real market need for their idea.

Co-creation goes past validation

As many studies from both the industry and the academy prove, users love to co-create, as that gives them a chance to influence the brands and the products they love. Also, it makes people feel their voice and needs — and even their creativity — are being listened by those brands. Co-creation is the most powerful form of validation, for it does not just help product makers collecting and incorporating valuable feedback from their users, but pulls customers’ proactive creativity in suggesting product improvements.

This is why at Crowdholding we value co-creation, in fact enabling startups on our platform to connect and co-create with their users and, in addition, to reward them! We have proved how this virtuous cycle produces stronger brands with a following of net promoters, who love their products and help making them more and more innovative, plus are willing to recommend them to their friends and colleagues!

Check out our platform at www.crowdholding.com and our ICO at http://ico.crowdholding.com, you will find plenty of tasks for you to earn rewards by helping many innovative companies (including ourselves) co-create cool products!

Paolo Lacche — COO of Crowdholding.com — is an Adjunct Professor of Product Management at the University of Economics in Prague, researches on the Product Management impact within the global landscape, and has previously served in senior PM roles for Skype and Microsoft.

This article is not investment advice, every investment comes with a risk you should be able to evaluate on your own.