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Better.com's CEO lays off hundreds of employees over Zoom

The mass layoff came just days after the startup received a $750 million cash infusion.

better-zoom
Better.com CEO Vishal Garg, during the Zoom call in which he laid off about 900 employees.
Screenshot by Steven Musil/CNET

The chief executive of digital mortgage lender Better.com informed 900 employees last week they were being laid off just weeks before the holidays during a mass Zoom meeting.

"If you're on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off," Better.com CEO Vishal Garg said Wednesday on the call, a recording of which has since circulated on TikTok and YouTube. "Your employment here is terminated effective immediately."

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The layoffs came just days after the New York-based startup received a $750 million cash infusion from Softbank ahead of plans to go public through a special purpose acquisition company.

During the call, Garg cited market efficiency, performance and productivity as among the reasons for the layoffs, which affected about 9% of the company's workforce.

"This isn't news you're gonna wanna hear, but ultimately it was my decision and I wanted you to hear it from me," Garg said during the meeting. "The last time I did this, I cried. This time, I hope to be stronger."

Garg also accused the laid-off employees of "stealing" from their colleagues and customers by being unproductive.

Garg has served as Better.com's CEO since founding the company in 2014. His management technique can sometimes be harsh, as evidenced by an email he to employees that was obtained by Forbes.

"You are TOO DAMN SLOW. You are a bunch of DUMB DOLPHINS... SO STOP IT. STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. YOU ARE EMBARRASSING ME," he wrote.

Better.com didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.