|Known For||Laying off 900 employees in a single Zoom call from his company Better.com, New York, US The Times of India|
|Physical Stats & More|
|Height (approx.)||in centimeters- 173 cm
in meters- 1.73 m
in feet & inches- 5’ 8”
|Date of Birth||Year 1979|
|Age (as of 2021)||42 Years|
|School||Stuyvesant High School, New York, US (1991-1995)|
|College/University||NYU Stern School of Business, New York City, New York (1995-1998)|
|Educational Qualification(s)||BS in Finance and International Business LinkedIn|
|Controversies||• Sued by his Partner in MyRichUncle
The online student loan provider company MyRichUncle was declared Chapter 7 bankrupt in 2009 after facing the consequences of the subprime mortgage crisis. His partner in the company ‘Raza Khan’ sued him and accused him of withdrawing the money and technical assets from EIFC (their subsequent company). In 2012, Raza accused Vishal of using the funds inappropriately which were owed to certain universities. He further alleged Garg of using the funds of the company (co-partnered by Raza and Vishal) to start his (Vishal’s) own company Better.com. Later, Khan stated that many top investors of Better.com backed off due to Vishal’s fraudulent activities. In December 2019, in the ‘Khan and Garg case,’ Garg said that he would staple Khan against a fucking wall and burn him alive. Forbes
• Inappropriately Laying Off Employees
He fired around 900 of his employees on a single Zoom video conference call in December 2021. In the Zoom call, he said,
"Hi everyone, thank you for joining. I come to you with not great news. 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 it from me. It’s been a really, really challenging decision to make. This is the second time in my career that I’m doing this and I do not want to do this. The last time I did it I cried. This time I hope to be stronger. But we are laying off about 15% of the company for [a number of] reasons: the market, efficiency and performances and productivity. If you’re on this call you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off. Your employment here is terminated. Effective immediately.”
He received a huge backlash from people across the world for his insensitive and unprofessional act. BBC
|Relationships & More|
|Wife/Spouse||Sarita James (CEO of Embark, Admissions Software Company, UK)
|Children||He has three children, and one of his daughters' names is Uma Garg.
Some Lesser Known Facts About Vishal Garg
- Vishal Garg is an American entrepreneur who hails from India. He is the founder of the mortgage company ‘Better.com.’
- When he was seven years old, his family shifted to Queens, Boroughs of New York City, US.
- He made a huge profit from reselling CliffsNotes study guides & books, and second-hand clothes while he was studying at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan.
- After completing his graduation, he started working at ‘Morgan Stanley’ a financial services company in New York, in 1998.
- He co-founded ‘One Zero Capital’ a New York-based investment holding company in March 1999.
- In January 2020, he started an online student loan company MyRichUncle (parent holding company MRU Holdings) along with his school classmate Raza Khan. The initial capital investment in the company was made by Raza’s elder brother.
- He became a founding partner in ‘Phoenix Holdings,’ an insurance company in March 2011.
- He started the mortgage company ‘Better.com’ in January 2014, in Greater New York City, US. Within a few years, his company was listed among one of the top mortgage companies in the US. ‘Better.com’ is backed by many renowned financial institutions such as SoftBank, L Catterton, Kleiner Perkins, Goldman Sachs, Ally Bank, American Express, and Citi. In 2020, the company was listed on Forbes Fintech 50 list. Forbes
- During an interview, he shared the fact that how he thought of starting a mortgage company. He said,
My wife was pregnant with our second child and we were still renting. We ended up losing a place that we wanted to buy to an all-cash buyer because our mortgage process was so long and inefficient.”
- In collaboration with the Fund for Public Schools (an NGO) in NYC, he donated around 2 million US dollars for public schools’ students in New York to provide them Chromebooks, iPads, wifi hotspots, books, and uniforms for more than 20,000 students in 2021.
- In December 2021, he received huge backlash for firing 900 of his employees on a single Zoom call. Later, he sent an apology mail to his employees stating that,
I want to apologize for the way I handled the layoffs last week. I failed to show the appropriate amount of respect and appreciation for the individuals who were affected and for their contributions to Better. I own the decision to do the layoffs, but in communicating it I blundered the execution. In doing so, I embarrassed you. I realize that the way I communicated this news made a difficult situation worse. I am deeply sorry and am committed to learning from this situation and doing more to be the leader that you expect me to be. At Better, your dedication, focus and expertise are essential in the vital work we are doing to unlock the value, joy and opportunity of homeownership for our customers across the country. I couldn’t be more grateful for all you are accomplishing for the customers we serve. We will talk more at our upcoming All Hands meeting about what to expect for the year ahead. I hope you’ll join me for the discussion. We are also taking fast steps to make sure we are very transparent and aligned as a company on the goals for 2022, the metrics that matter most, and how we can all work together even better to serve our customers and achieve our mission. I believe in you, I believe in Better, and I believe that working together we can make homeownership better together.-Thank you, Vishal.”
- A few days later, one of his ex-employees, shared Vishal’s previous mail which he had sent to his employees. The mail reads,
HELLO — WAKE UP BETTER TEAM. You are TOO DAMN SLOW. You are a bunch of DUMB DOLPHINS and…DUMB DOLPHINS get caught in nets and eaten by sharks. SO STOP IT. STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. YOU ARE EMBARRASSING ME.”
- In 2023, Vishal, in an interview, discussed his decision to terminate some employees back in 2021. He mentioned that this experience prompted him to work on becoming more empathetic and treating his employees with the same level of kindness that he extends to his customers. He said,
I think I’ve learned now that in orders for our customers to be delighted, our teammates also have to feel delight. So I’ve worked really, really hard to to change the way I show up to the team every day, and to be more empathetic and to treat them with the same level of kindness that I showed our customers.”