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Better.com goes public

Better.com goes public

After a tumultuous two years that saw its CEO hit the headlines for laying off staff via Zoom, digital mortgage outfit Better.com is set to go public via a Spac merger.

Better.com will list on the Nasdaq on Thursday via a deal with Aurora Acquisition Corp, completing a move that was initially set to happen in 2021.

The listing was delayed amid a Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry and several rounds of layoffs - including the infamous mass Zoom firings - which reduced Better's headcount by about 90%, according to TechCrunch.

Better.com says the listing will unlock about $565 million of fresh capital, including a $528 million convertible note previously committed from affiliates of its investor SoftBank.

The capital will be used to continue the firm's recent focus on technology, including Tinman, its proprietary loan origination platform.

Better.com has also launched One-Day Mortgage, which allows customers to go online, get pre-approved, lock their rate and get a binding mortgage Commitment Letter within 24 hours. The firm is betting that this will prove a hit once interest rates gall.

Vishal Garg remains as CEO after, he tells TechCrunch, undergoing "a lot of leadership training".

Garag caused uproar in late 2021 after a video emerged of him firing 900 employees in a Zoom call. To add insult to injury, days after the firings Garg posted messages on anonymous professional network Blind, saying many of the affected employees were "stealing" by "working an average of 2 hours a day while clocking 8 hours+ a day".

Fresh details soon emerged about Garg's volatile behaviour, with staffers reporting inappropriate language and a culture of fear.

Meanwhile, Garg called Howard Newman of the investment firm Pine Brook Partners "sewage" and an "ingrate and a thug and a miserable miser," after Newman questioned Better.com's decision to go public via a Spac rather than a more traditional route.

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