Here’s a piece of business advice that’s blindingly obvious, once you know it.
If you ask someone for a recommendation, that contact of yours may want to make a recommendation, but they need to have FIRST HAND experience of the person that they’re trying to refer into you.
I’m making this post from personal experience of getting bitten by this. In the past, sometimes when I’ve asked for recommendations and ended up with disappointing or very disappointing results, when I sit down and actually do the arithmetic, I realise the person making the recommendation doesn’t have FIRST HAND experience of the person they’re referring into me.
The problem with recommendations is that people don’t do due diligence, because the trust you have for the referrer automatically qualifies the refer-ee.
On a major, complex project like engaging a software agency to build your MVP, this is something to be avoided. If you’re asking around for an agency to build your MVP, make sure the referrer has that FIRST HAND experience of that agency’s ability to deliver.