Manish Maheshwari has stepped down as the chief executive and director of Invact Metaversity, the edtech firm he co-founded with former Microsoft executive Tanay Pratap about six months ago.
This move likely caps the tumultuous past few weeks at the firm following differences between the founders on the future vision for Invact Metaversity.
"The decision to part ways was not an easy one, but ultimately, @manishm (Manish Maheshwari) and @tanaypratap (Tanay Pratap) had diverging visions for the company's long-term prospects. Invact will continue and under leadership of Tanay will pursue its vision to make quality education accessible via Metaversity" the company said in a statement on Twitter.
"The company places on record Manish’s tremendous contributions to Invact’s business since its incorporation and expresses its gratitude. The Company and Manish wish each other the best of luck for the future" it added.
In a series of tweets on May 27, Maheshwari said he will initially take a break for a few months and then pursue new opportunities.
I have full trust in @tanaypratap. I will be cheering from the sidelines for Invact to become the next unicorn and ultimately go for an IPO under his leadership.
— Manish Maheshwari (@manishm) May 27, 2022
Pratap. who will now lead the company, said "Changes are often heartbreaking but sometimes necessary. We started together, built together, and celebrated together. Invact will continue to build on its vision of accessible quality education for all. Wishing Manish all the best for the future. Goodbyes are always hard"
Changes are often heartbreaking but sometimes necessary. We started together, built together, and celebrated together.
Invact will continue to build on its vision of accessible quality education for all. Wishing Manish all the best for the future. Goodbyes are always hard. https://t.co/4YV1HLtbq2— Tanay Pratap (@tanaypratap) May 27, 2022
Invact Metaversity was started by former Twitter India head Maheshwari and Pratap in January this year.
It offered a 16-week MBA programme which the company said was designed to get students a job "in a core business function of a high growth company". One of the key differentiators was that students were expected to attend classes through virtual reality or the so-called "metaverse".
The Bengaluru-based startup has raised about $5 million in funding from a clutch of investors including Arkam Ventures, Antler India, Picus Capital (Germany), M Venture Partners (Singapore), BECO Capital (Dubai) and 2am VC (United States).
However, the startup quickly ran into trouble over differing visions of both the founders on whether Invact Metaversity should be an education company or a metaverse company.
The firm also cancelled its first cohort earlier this month and refunded the amount with interest to the students who had enrolled for the course.
In a recent letter to investors, Tanay Pratap mentioned that both the co-founders had a disagreement on long term and short term vision about the startup.
The startup was also looking for potential buyers earlier this month but could not find one on the terms and conditions, the letter highlighted.
On May 23, Maheshwari also confirmed troubles at the company through a series of tweets, mentioning that they are now standing at crossroads and exploring possibilities like cutting the burn rate, pivoting or one founder to take full charge or return the unpent capital to its investors.Gergely Orosz, an angel investor in the company, however publicly called out Maheshwari for holding the company "hostage", allegedly walking back on his promise to step down as well as lying to investors.
Adding back my deleted comment.
Manish: this assessment is untrue. @invactHQ is doing well. It's CEO: you is failing.
Not only are you holding the company hostage, but you lied to your investors.
You lied to me, after we talked. More details to come.https://t.co/WXDWz5x5Tt— Gergely Orosz (@GergelyOrosz) May 26, 2022