Manish Maheshwari, the former head of Twitter India, is leaving the startup he co-founded just six months ago after disagreements with co-founder and investors.
“I am moving from 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 go through the same feeling, “Maheshwari, who served as the startup’s CEO and CEO, wrote in a tweet.
Maheshwari left Twitter late last year to launch Invact Metaversity with Tanay Pratap, a former Microsoft employee, TechCrunch first reported. The startup, which has raised $ 5 million to date, seeks 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 locked horns and disagreed on the vision, according to a sensational email Pratap sent to its investors earlier this month.
Maheshwari, who owned more equity at the start-up than Tanay, took wider control over the direction of the start-up, according to a person familiar with the matter.
“We are now at a crossroads, exploring options such as (a) reducing the rate of combustion and turning to another idea, (b) letting one of the founders take full responsibility, or (c) returning the unused capital to investors,” Maheshwari tweeted earlier in the week following media reports of tensions between the two founders.
Things suddenly got more complicated after Gergely Orosz, an early backer of Invact, publicly called Maheshwari out for allegedly not listening to any investor, waiving exit deals and holding the startup hostage.
“Manish has bullied Tanay into silence and threatened to use the company’s $ 1.7 million funds – including our angel investment money – to sue him if Tanay speaks ill of him in public,” Orosz wrote to investors this week in an e-mail. mail, notified. by TechCrunch.
“This broke the drop with me as it includes my money: which I never invested to be used as an instrument for one co-founder bullying the other. Manish keeps going back on promises he made to named investors, and “then break them down. Name investors met the conditions he set for accepting the exit settlement so the company can continue its operations. Then he goes back on those terms. He has been doing this for weeks,” he wrote.
Invact raised a $ 5 million round earlier this year from Arkam Ventures, Antler India, Picus Capital, 2am VC and dozens of angel investors worth $ 33.5 million. It was to put together a new round worth $ 100 million, according to a source familiar with the matter. Later, it investigated the sale of the company but could not find a buyer.
“The decision to separate was not easy, but in the end, Manish and Tanay had divergent visions for the company’s long-term prospects. “Invact will continue and, under the leadership of Tanay, pursue its vision of making quality education available through Metaversity,” the startup said in a statement today.
In his Twitter thread today, Maheshwari described Tanay as a “brother”.