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Cofounder Manish Maheshwari agrees to leave Invact Metaversity, Tanay Pratap to be CEO

Bengaluru: Manish Maheshwari, cofounder and chief executive of troubled edtech startup Invact Metaversity, has agreed to leave the company following serious differences with cofounder Tanay Pratap.

“I am moving out of Invact to first take a break for a few months and then pursue new opportunities. It is heartbreaking for a founder to leave the startup, like a mother leaving her baby. I am going through the same emotion,” Maheshwari said in a tweet announcing his exit on Friday. Pratap will now take over as the CEO of the startup.
The startup, less than a year old, has been in the news after Pratap emailed to investors, detailing the rift between them. It even caused the founding team to
think about shutting shop or refunding the capital to investors.

Sources said Maheshwari has now signed an agreement to exit the company.

“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,” Maheshwari added on Twitter.

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Earlier this week, one of the company’s angel investors Gergely Orosz publicly accused Maheshwari, the former head of Twitter India, of going back on his word to leave the startup, as
ETtech reported on May 26.

In an
email sent by Orosz to Invact’s investors on May 26, he alleged that Maheshwari went back on his promise to exit the company and asked for more equity than is vested, as well as a significant amount of cash and a board seat.

After Maheshwari’s tweet, Pratap also tweeted saying, “Changes are often heartbreaking but sometimes necessary. We started together, built together, and celebrated together.” The same tweet added that 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,” he added.

Officially, announcing Maheshwari’s exit on Twitter, Invact Metaversity tweeted, “Over the last few days, we have been in the news, more than we have ever been! So here is the official update. Manish Maheshwari has stepped down from his position as chief executive officer and director of Invact, Inc. as of May 27, 2022.”

According to Pratap’s email, Maheshwari’s vested stake was pegged at 5.8% and investors offered the former Twitter executive $87,000 to leave.

to Pratap’s memo, Maheshwari – who previously worked at Flipkart – fired the business team during the week of May 16. He then directed Pratap – who is also its chief technology officer – to fire the technology team before the end of the month, as a potential sale or acqui-hire and settlement between the founders wasn’t working out anymore.

Sources said the company was unable to find buyers over the past few weeks.

Invact Metaversity
raised $5 million in February led by Arkam Ventures and investors including Antler India, Picus Capital (Germany), M Venture Partners (Singapore), BECO Capital (Dubai) and 2amVC (US), valuing the startup at $33 million.

The platform offered a 16-week ‘metaMBA’ programme designed to improve employability of its students and provide an affordable university-like space in the metaverse.

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