Save the much-hyped Katrina-Vicky wedding, the only other name currently trending on social media is Vishal Garg, the CEO of Better.Com. His ominous call left the 900 employees, who dialed in, without a job post the session. The Zoom call, which went viral, laid off nine per cent of its total workforce (10,000). The employees affected by this decision were mainly from India and the US. “If you are on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off. Your employment here is being terminated effective immediately,” Garg could be heard saying. Ever since the video started circulating on social media, Google search trends saw an increase in queries about Garg and his online mortgage company.
As a seven-year-old, who moved to the US with his family, Garg went on to study finance and international business in New York. In 2000, he began a private student loan company MyRichUncle along with his high school friend and fellow immigrant Raza Khan, according to The Independent.
Within seven years, the duo dropped out of NYU and their company had gone public. MyRichUncle was purchased by Merrill Lynch, and later by Bank of America. However, two years later, the company was forced into bankruptcy. While Garg and Khan helmed another company, things turned sour between them that went to the point of Khan filing a lawsuit against Garg and Garg accusing Khan of stealing. A year after Khan’s lawsuit, Garg founded Better.com.
His firm started with the aim of re-engineering the mortgage process and to streamline homeownership in a way advantageous to clients. Instead of incentivising sales, the company began working with borrowers directly online instead of commissioned loan officers.
So, who did they employ? Well, engineers, designers, interior firms to agents, financial analysts, backend software engineers, insurance agents, legal eagles to a robust marketing team. No reason was given for the firing but the pandemic seems to have impacted Garg’s ambitious flight. As he put it: “The market has changed, as you know, and we have to move with it in order to survive so that hopefully, we can continue to thrive and deliver on our mission. This isn’t news that you’re going to want to hear. But ultimately it was my decision. And I wanted you to hear from me. It’s been a really, really challenging decision to make.”