Getting to an MVP in fast gear


Transforming an idea into a prototype can take up to several months: with Unicorn labs, the process is accomplished in less than 48 hours. The organization has already transformed seventeen ideas into a working minimal viable product (MVP). 


Developing an MVP is an essential part of lead product development because it helps companies to evaluate the efficacy of their solution with potential customers and to gather feedback. Reaching this stage can be challenging and could take several months. Unicorn Labs has found a solution to accelerate the process.

Established in 2016, Unicorn labs is a non-profit organization run by a team of students from ETH Zurich who are dedicated to helping businesses to transform their ideas into a working prototype or minimum viable product (MVP) for market and technology validation.

Once founders and corporates have submitted their ideas, Unicorn labs board gathers to brainstorm ideas to evaluate their feasibility. If the idea has potential, the team brings together its volunteering members who bring a broad range of experience to build an MVP in a hackathon fashion over one weekend. Modern technologies, innovative methods and focus on hardware & software development using rapid prototyping tools such as 3d-printing, laser cutting, Arduinos and Raspberry Pi’s facilitate the process.

Since its establishment, Unicorn labs has already bred out 17 ideas out, of which some have founded and secured funding. Examples include the food-waste solution developed by Kitro and VisualZ. More ideas are in the pipeline. Thanks to this success, Karim Saleh, board member of Unicorn lab, says that he and the team will continue to offer their support to help founders through the process of transforming their idea into an MVP. Submission of ideas can be made anytime through the website.

Hands-on experience for studentsWhile prototyping is at the core of the organization, Saleh believes unicorn labs is an ideal environment for students to gain hands-on experience in product development. Volunteers at Unicorn Labs are students from ETH Zurich, University of St. Gallen, and professionals with technical know-how, are motivated and dedicated to implementing their knowledge in solving real businesses cases.

“We help students to expand their knowledge, and enhance their creativity by allowing them to gather hands-on experience and to practice what they learn in their lectures,” said Saleh. Students that want to join the Unicorn Labs community can register for the Zoom out program at Unicorn Labs.