Eric & Phyllis Savage are expats who have lived in Bangalore for over 12 years. Eric Savage works in social enterprise and is co-founder and CEO of Unitus Capital, a venture capital company that helps enterprises scale. Phyllis Savage is a freelance journalist who has previously worked with Reuters, CNBC and Forbes.
Eric went to Duke University, and then wanted to do something socially impactful. So he applied to one of the programs that allowed him to go to Africa to do meaningful work. He did not have the right business skills to do business work and was offered a role in agriculture. He eventually decided to work on Wall St. for Salomon Brothers (an American investment bank) in 1992. Eventually, Eric went to Hong Kong just as the markets were opening up, and stayed there for 12 years. Salomon Brothers was bought by Citi Group (they lend to the same kind of companies) and Eric lost his job at some point. Eric then spent a year at the Kennedy school at Harvard in a 1 year program on Public Policy – he researched poverty alleviation, microfinance, etc.
Through a series of lucky breaks, he connected with people who wanted to set up an investment bank in Bangalore – one that raised capital and set up investment ideas – and moved to Bangalore in 2007. The company now has a team of about 30 people and raises money for microfinance, SME finance, affordable housing finance and affordable school finance
Phyllis is originally from Taiwan, but grew up in Nicaragua for 5-10 yrs. She is originally a Mandarin speaker, but grew up learning English and Spanish. Phyllis moved back to Taiwan after an additional year in the United States. She went to boarding school then college in the US. Despite having a degree in history, Phyllis went on to become a banker in New York. She then moved to Paris for 6 months to pursue her interest in culinary history. She then completed her master’s degree in journalism at Columbia, then moved to Hong Kong afterwards. Phyllis worked for a local TV station, then Reuters, and was then posted in Delhi in 1996.
She covered the handover in Hong Kong in 1997. She eventually left Reuters and joined CNBC to be an on-air correspondent for 10-15 years until she had kids and then continued to write for Forbes.