Manish Maheshwari, former director of Twitter India, leaves a new startup – TechCrunch

Manish Maheshwari, the former head of Twitter India, is leaving the startup he co-founded just six months ago following disagreements with the co-founder and investors.

“I am leaving 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,” wrote Maheshwari , who served as CEO and CEO of the startup, in a tweet.

Maheshwari quit Twitter late last year to launch Invact Metaversity with ex-Microsoft employee Tanay Pratap, TechCrunch First reported. The startup, which has raised $5 million to date, is looking to launch a metaverse where cohorts of students could take classes. But the startup has so far struggled to ship a product as the two founders clashed and disagreed on the vision, according to a startling email Pratap sent to its investors earlier. this month.

Maheshwari, who owned more shares of the startup than Tanay, according to a person familiar with the matter, assumed broader control over the direction of the startup.

“We are now at a crossroads to explore possibilities such as (a) reducing the burn rate and pivoting to another idea, (b) letting one of the founders take full charge, or (c) making the unspent capital to investors,” Maheshwari tweeted. earlier this week following media reports of tension between the two founders.

Things suddenly got complicated after Gergely Orosz, one of Invact’s early supporters, publicly called out Maheshwari for allegedly not listening to any investors, reneging on exit deals and holding the startup “hostage”.

“Manish intimidated Tanay into silence, threatening to use $1.7 million in company funds — including our angel investment — to sue him, if Tanay spoke badly of him in public,” Orosz wrote to the investors this week in an email, reviewed by TechCrunch.

“It broke the straw with me because it includes my money: which I never invested to be used as an instrument of one co-founder bullying the other. Manish backtracks on promises he made to named investors , then breaks them off. The name investors were following the terms he had in place to agree to the exit settlement so the company could continue to operate. He then goes back on those terms. He’s been doing this for weeks,” he wrote.

Invact raised $5 million earlier this year from Arkam Ventures, Antler India, Picus Capital, 2am VC and dozens of angel investors for a valuation of $33.5 million. He was hosting a new round at a valuation of $100 million, according to a source familiar with the matter. He later explored selling the business, but could not find a buyer.

“The decision to part ways was not easy, but ultimately Manish and Tanay had differing views on the long-term prospects of the business. Invact will continue and under Tanay’s leadership will pursue its vision of making quality education accessible through Metaversity,” the startup said in a statement today.

In his Twitter feed today, Maheshwari described Tanay as “brother”.


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