Sarah Warren Band

find the beat

Philip Belamant is the CEO of Zilch, a Buy Now Pay Later provider founded in 2018 that has over 2 million customers.

Philip Belamant studied information technology at South Africa’s University of Johannesburg and won the Microsoft-sponsored Project Firefly competition for his biometric security system.

Philip Belamant started the mobile social gaming business PBel in 2006. Customers could purchase digital assets and play games using prepaid airtime. They preferred PBel’s mobile payment capabilities and airtime competitions, so the company focused on these instead of developing games.

PBel worked with Windhoek’s CEO and became the biggest airtime service provider in Namibia. It partnered with major mobile network operators and expanded into over 27 African countries.

PBel collaborated with Mastercard to issue virtual cards based on airtime. Outreach programs distributed funds to people that used phones in third-world countries so that they could buy essential items.

Philip Belamant surveyed his customers and found that they borrowed airtime to make paying bills easier. He developed ways in which people could borrow services, like electricity, and pay the bills later, which helped reduce poverty in South Africa. After six years, PBel had over 6 million clients and was sold as Net1 UEPS Technologies.

In 2009, Philip Belamant started Manje, a platform that let users borrow airtime and sell it to their customers by phones. He developed virtual cards and a virtual payment system for Uber. Belamant combined magnetic stripe cards with Manje to allow people without bank accounts to access credit and make virtual payments. Manje became a top company with over 8 million users and helped stop payday lenders from preying on the disadvantaged. It worked directly with customers by offering a flat fee and interest-free repayments. Manje’s business model inspired Zilch and, like Zilch, was used by people from all socioeconomic backgrounds.