metaversity: We are now at a crossroads: Metaversity founder Manish Maheshwari

Manish Maheshwari, the former chief of TwitterIndia, is no stranger to controversy. The last is about a public rift with his Invact metaversity co-founder Tanay Pratapas a result of which there is the probability that the
the edtech platform would be closed, a few months after the start of operations. Maheshwari tells ET’s Aashish Aryan in an exclusive interview about his teachings and whether the company could have done better. Modified extracts:

You now have the 20/20 hindsight advantage. What have you learned?

We have made significant progress in pushing boundaries on different dimensions with respect to product, technology, curriculum and user experience. However, getting a customer to like an idea involves a lot more things and is difficult. Getting it right in all aspects on the first try is even more difficult. You have to be humble enough to recognize, learn and repeat.

What’s the next step? Where do you see the company is headed?

We are now at a crossroads, exploring different possibilities. One of them is to reduce the burn rate and move on to another idea. We are also considering the option of letting one of the founders fully take over the company and lead it from there.

Another option under consideration is to return unspent capital to investors, who will be an example of how to execute, learn quickly but not commit to building an undifferentiated product just because you have capital. We will make a final decision very soon. As for the fees, it was refunded in full to the students along with interest and our unconditional apology.

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Having led two companies, what do you think are the key elements to look for in a co-founder?

It is imperative that the co-founders complement each other in terms of strengths and weaknesses and that you choose someone who shares the same vision and approach to implement that vision. Running a startup is a challenging task, no matter how dedicated and passionate you are. Along the way you will face ups and downs.

Would you say now that the idea of ​​a university in the Metaverse was ahead of its time?

Yes I agree. We were looking for something that was ahead of its time. When we started testing early versions of the Metaversity platform with real students, it became clear to us that the immersive classroom and community experience were not being delivered to the level we had expected. We also ran into technological and ecosystem challenges as we solved accessibility on devices used by students. This prevented us from offering the differentiated learning experience that we wanted our students to have now.

Our teams have worked relentlessly over the past few months and we have made significant progress in pushing boundaries on different dimensions in product, technology and consumer experience … responsible innovation doesn’t happen in a flash or a spark, requires sustainable commitment, time and creativity. I continue to remain passionate about the intersection of education and the metaverse and will try to pursue it in other ways.

How many students did you manage to enroll?

About 60 students had enrolled in the first cohort of our 16 weeks business accidents

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