- Shares of online mortgage lender Better.com plunged as much as 95% after its Nasdaq debut.
- Shares fell after the opening bell. They fell so fast that trading had to be halted four times in the first 30 minutes.
- Better.com CEO Vishal Garg brutally fired 900 employees in 2021 through a Zoom call.
Better Homes & Finance, or Better.com, got off to a rough start on the Nasdaq on Thursday — the stock plunged as much as 95% on its first day of trading.
Shares of the SoftBank-backed online mortgage lender — which merged with blank-check company Aurora Acquisition Corp. — fell after the opening bell. They fell so sharply that trading was halted four times in the first 30 minutes, Insider’s Alex Nicol reported Thursday.
Better.com’s disastrous debut on Nasdaq followed a dramatic turn of events at the digital mortgage company from December 2021, when CEO Vishal Garg brutally fired 900 employees over a Zoom call.
He accused at least 250 fired employees of exaggerating the hours they worked at the company, Fortune reported at the time.
News of Garg’s handling of the mass firing went viral, and he later apologized to the remaining employees, admitting that he had made a “mistake in the execution” of the layoffs.
Garg appears to have emerged a different person from the episode, telling TechCrunch in an interview published Wednesday that he has since undergone “a lot” of leadership training and has learned to be a compassionate boss. worked really hard”.
News of Better.com’s plans to go public first emerged in May 2021, but the merger with Aurora has been delayed amid regulatory scrutiny and controversial layoffs.
Better.com saw massive growth during the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to the hot housing market and low interest rates. But a decline in mortgage demand due to rising interest rates resulted in a first-quarter net loss of $89.9 million in July.
Shares closed Thursday down 93.4% at $1.15.
Better.com did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider sent outside regular business hours.