Qualifying a software agency to develop your MVP is really very difficult to do.
Fundamentally, it’s a complex process that involves trying to work out whether giving someone you’ve never met close to a £100,000 results in you ending up with either a) a decent piece of working software, or b) a funny story to tell the grandkids.
There are a lot of things that you can do to reduce the risk around qualifying an agency, but the simplest step that you can take that virtually no one takes at this stage in a startup’s life, is just to get two quotes.
In more complex procurement processes, the standard is to get three quotes, but founders seemingly universally stop at one. I think the reason for this is that the sales process is so complicated and so involved, and that you can’t feel comfortable to make the commitment without forming a relationship with the supplier, i.e. just through the process of learning what you’re buying, founders get swayed into getting married to the first person they’ve dated.
The easiest solution here is genuinely simple – go through that dating process twice.