VISHAL GARG Crystal Cox Business Insider

Crystal Cox

Vishal Garg

CEO, Better

Vishal Garg, cofounder and CEO of digital mortgage startup Better.com, set out to shake up the homeownership process, aiming to imbue it with more speed, fewer fees, and a healthy dose of transparency.

The online lender, which closed a $160 million Series C round in August 2019 that valued the company at $600 million, was in prime position to flex its capabilities during the pandemic, absorbing the surge in mortgage and refinancing demand as interest rates plunged. Moreover, with Better, which in addition to direct lending has helped lenders like Ally with digital mortgage platforms, prospective buyers can apply, receive, and pay down a mortgage online, a key capability in the pandemic era.

The company originated just under $5 billion in mortgages in 2019. It's on track for $20 billion in originations this year.

And while other companies are cutting staff, Better has been bulking out. The firm was already on a hiring spree in 2019, but amid the heightened demand for its services, it has ramped that up further, actively recruiting and hiring employees laid off from other sectors — such as NYC restaurant workers. Better has hired over 1,000 employees since the coronavirus hit the US and had more than 2,7000 employees in July.