On December 1, Vishal Garg, CEO of online mortgage startup Better, told 900 employees in a three-minute Zoom call that they were being laid off, effective immediately.
Garg reportedly accused “at least 250” terminated staff members of “stealing” from the company by working just two hours a day while claiming pay for eight or more, according to posts he published on teamblind.com (first reported by Fortune).
Unsurprisingly, the mass layoffs sparked outrage from the employee base and the public. As a result, according to the Insider, Better’s top marketing, PR, and communications executives have resigned.
While Garg emailed the employee base on December 7th apologizing and saying he had “blundered the execution” of the layoffs, it wasn’t enough.
On December 10th Better.com’s board of directors announced via email that Garg is “taking time off effective immediately,” and that the company has engaged an independent third party to “do a leadership and cultural assessment.”
All of this came after the digital mortgage lender had announced it had received a cash infusion of about $750 million as an amendment of its SPAC agreement with blank check company Aurora Acquisition Corp., and SoftBank. Under the SPAC, the company was expected to go public soon at a $6.9 billion valuation.
That deal has now been postponed indefinitely.