Former Twitter India head Manish Maheshwari and edupreneur Tanay Pratap talk about their new metaverse startup

Manish Maheshwari
Manish Maheshwari

With the pandemic introducing the world to several virtual experiences, Manish Maheshwari and Tanay Pratap, the founders of Bengaluru-based Invact Metaversity, an immersive university that is built on metaverse, decided to tap the current buzz. They are here to provide an experience in the field of education, which they feel is now evolving and racing ahead of the conventional online education platforms.

Maheshwari, who was then the Twitter head for India, was scouting for users who made news and subjects that really piqued public interest. That is how Pratap’s name popped up and Maheshwari learnt that he was working on a cohort-based online learning platform. Like many other startup ideas, this one too cropped up over dinner.

“In fact, Manish wanted to connect with me and I decided to meet him over dinner at his place. I was nervous because I felt I had done something wrong on Twitter. However, the conversation drifted towards combining learning with metaverse, where we wanted to give students an experience, beyond the boring online education system,” says Pratap, who was in the online teaching space for three years.

Maheshwari believes his inspiration for Invact Metaversity came from his stint with Twitter. “When Covid-19 happened, students were complaining about the on and off learning model using hashtags. Then it occurred to me that education is not just about content but experience,” adds Maheshwari, who was also amidst the thick of the Twitter controversy over compliance last year with the Central Government.

Pratap, who worked as a senior software engineer at Microsoft, identifies himself as a ‘teacher’ and an ‘engineer’ at heart. “I was solving problems previously as a teacher as an engineer. Now, I am solving a problem as an edupreneur. We don’t believe in the credential mechanism as long as you are able to tap technology to build your performance and assignments on metaverse or ‘metafolio’.” says Pratap.

Interestingly, the duo also raised funds from big tech giants from India and overseas using a very ‘unconventional’ method. According to Maheshwari, the agreement also requires tech giants to invest time in teaching students and also assist them in placements.  

“We had to send simple one-liners on WhatsApp to the investors to get the deals done. We actually had to turn down many offers from investors because we had already got what we wanted,” says Maheshwari. 

“Investors, who were experiencing the metaverse during the funding rounds, overheard the discussions of other investors on the metaverse platform and showed interest in the startup. That’s the kind of serendipity metavarsity offers,” adds Pratap.

Fact file

Invact Metaversity is a Bengaluru-based metaverse startup that offers a 16-week metaMBA programme designed to get you a job in a core business function of a high-growth company. The course will be delivered in the metaversity, where students can learn from mentors and peers using Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) gadgets.

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