Garg also confirmed that Fortune this week, the company accused “at least 250” laid-off executives of stealing from the company and customers by working just two hours a day. Not long after announcing the layoffs, Garg addressed the company in a live-streamed town hall. He outlined a vision of what he called “Better 2.0”. with a “leaner, meaner, hungrier workforce,” according to a leaked recording of the meeting shared with Insider.
Better.com CEO Vishal Garg apparently realizes he’s done wrong.
(As if the barrage of negative publicity wasn’t proof enough).
Today there was a letter to current employees: leaked on Blind by a verified Better employee. In the letter, Garg apologized for the way he (mis)covered the layoff news last week, writing: “I have not shown the right amount of respect and appreciation for those affected and for their contributions to Better. I own the decision to make the layoffs, but in communicating it I blundered the execution. I embarrassed you with that.”
Some might argue that he embarrassed himself too.
Earlier today, sOur people familiar with internal events within the company, Patrick Lenihan, the company’s VP of Communications, told Gadgets Price; head of public relations, Tanya Gillogley; and head of marketing, Melanie Hahn, have all resigned. Insider also reported that news earlier today.
The ramifications of how CEO and co-founder Vishal Garg dealt with the layoffs of about 900 people, as first reported by Gadgets Price, has been widespread, including criticism of the fact that it’s handled via Zoom, over allegations of insincerity on Garg’s part. Memes about the video have even landed on TikTok while people all over the world screw up Garg’s actions.
The move last week came after the digital mortgage lender announced it had received a cash infusion of about $750 million. an amendment to his SPAC agreement with blank check company Aurora Acquisition Corp. and SoftBank, and then promptly laid off about 9% of its 10,000 employees. The company is expected to go public with a valuation of $6.9 billion.
Today Bloomberg reported that the company is now (unsurprisingly) pushing back the SPAC, which was originally expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.
Gadgets Price has reached out to Better.com for comment, but has not heard back at the time of writing. The allegedly resigned employees also did not respond to requests for comment.
Better.com isn’t the only SoftBank-backed proptech to see top executives leave ahead of its public debut. In 2019, Insider also reported more than a dozen top WeWork officials had left the company amid reports of internal complaints and uncertainty about the IPO plans.
The question on our minds right now is whether investors and board members will tolerate this kind of behavior from Garg, or will he be forced Adam Neumann-style?
Garg’s reputation as a not very nice person dates back to last year when… Forbes revealed the contents of an email to Garg employees: “HELLO – WAKE UP TEAM. You are TOO LADLY SLOW. You are a bunch of DUMB DOLPHINS and… DUMB DOLPHINS get caught in nets and eaten by sharks. SO STOP IT STOP. STOP IT NOW. YOU MAKE ME A MAKE.”
That same Forbes article revealed that Garg was the subject of a number of lawsuits from the likes of PIMCO and Goldman Sachs for matters such as “improper and even fraudulent activity at two previous business ventures and the misappropriation of” tens of millions of dollars.
The recent dip in refinancing is believed to be a factor in Better.com’s decision to lay off some of its employees.
In April 2020, Better.com said it was “renting aggressively” as more people attempted to refinance their homes in the face of historically low mortgage rates. At the time, I had reported to Crunchbase News that an internal memo to Garg employees revealed that mortgage startups looking for about 1,000 people in 2020 as a whole “as more and more homeowners come online for their needs.”