A proof of concept (PoC) is a solution to validate a project’s feasibility. A PoC’s goal, from the software development perspective, is to show the workability of the product idea and business plan. A PoC is the first step after establishment of the product’s core idea.
Startups provide innovative ideas and products and at the very beginning, it is difficult to predict how scalable a product should be. It is safer to fund a PoC first instead of investing in uncertain concepts.
A proof of concepts helps verify if specific features are needed – as a result, the budget will be better planned, and the team will not waste time developing useless components.
A PoC decides if the product idea is possible. A prototype's purpose is to present how the product can be built. A minimum viable product (MVP) is a version of the product ready to be introduced to the market – it is the first public version of the product.
PoCs, prototypes, and MVPs should not be considered as the same thing - they follow on from each other during the product development process.
A proof of concept helps avoid costly mistakes and facilitates attracting investors by indicating poor or unnecessary ideas/features at the very beginning of the development process.