Effective Business Prototyping for Software Startups

PI: Elizabeth Bjarnason (LU).

Software startups develop innovative software-intense products under uncertain conditions and with a severe lack of resources. While launching a startup is relatively easy through the availability of open-source software and pay-as-you-go services, acquiring paying customers and thriving in uncertain conditions are among their top challenges, and startups often waste precious time and resources on developing features that are not successful in the market and run a high risk of failing. One important success factor of new business ventures is to test the business idea early on to validate its viability in the market. While prototyping is emphasized in recent methods such as Lean Startup. and Design Thinking, there is little research on how to effectively use prototypes integrated in the dynamic business context of startups. For this reason, we propose exploring the use of different types of prototypes, their costs and benefits, through literature reviews, theory building and case studies. Our aim is to provide actionable guidelines that can support startups in making more effective use of prototyping for validating new ideas, and for communicating with stakeholders. Software startups can then more accurately pinpoint which business ideas are viable and shorten the leadtime to market these products, and thereby increase their chances of success.

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Project number: A7