by John McPhaul, The Chicago Times
December 7, 2021
NEW YORK – In a callous move on December 1, 900 employees of Better.com, a real estate company, were invited to an expected holiday themed Zoom call, but were shocked when CEO Vishal Garg gave a three-minute speech informing them that they were all terminated “effectively immediately.”
Videos of the Zoom call have been shared on social media and YouTube, with a source close to the company confirming the recordings’ authenticity.
Garg sits at a white table in a business-casual outfit of slacks, a shirt, and a blue vest in the video, telling the workers that the “difficult decision” is his — and that this is the second time he’s had to lay off employees.
On social media, users are calling Garg’s mass video layoff “crass” and criticizing its timing just weeks before the holidays.
Garg claims in the video that the layoffs affect 15% of Better.com’s workforce, but a source close to the company says he misspoke and that only about 9% of employees are affected.
Many are shocked by the layoffs in face of Better.com having received $750 million in funding just days before Garg fired the employees. According to sources, Better.com plans to go public through a so-called Special Purpose Acquisition Company, or SPAC, with a blank-check company called Aurora and funds provided by investor SoftBank.
Better.com was founded in 2016 and is backed by the Japanese investment firm SoftBank as well as the financial services firms Goldman Sachs and Ally. The company sells mortgage services online, claiming to be able to help customers find a rate in seconds and be approved for a loan in minutes.
It is estimated that Vishal Garg is worth $4 Billion and received a $25 million dollar bonus in 2020.