Philip Belamant has long been committed to improving the financial status and upward mobility of people in his home country of South Africa. Most local citizens are familiar with Philip Belamant as the founder and CEO of Zilch, a payment platform that offers online shoppers the opportunity to complete a purchase now and pay for it later.
Fewer people are familiar with other tech-related financial tools he created prior to Zilch that helped thousands of South Africans improve their lives. Thanks to the virtual payment technologies he made available to everyday citizens, people could pay for utilities, purchased goods, and other bills electronically at their own convenience. Philip Belamant has dedicated his career to providing people who have no relationship with a bank the opportunity to use phone-based payment methods instead.
Belamant Combined His Love of Technology and Entrepreneurship to Create a Career
Philip Belamant graduated from the University of Johannesburg in 2006 when he was just 21 years old. His experience at the university, combined with having grown up observing the success of his entrepreneurial father in the technology field, created a strong desire to work with technology himself.
Belamant pursued his interests in artificial intelligence and mobile technology while he was still in school. When tasked with completing a project for his senior thesis, Philip Belamant chose to create a biometric security system. Belamant entered his biometric security system design in a Project Firefly competition sponsored by Microsoft and won.
The success of his senior thesis project and winning the Microsoft award gave Belamant the confidence to create and launch PBel, his first venture as an entrepreneur. PBel generated sales of over $100 million and attracted more than six million users within its first few years.
Philip Belamant’s Next Venture: Creating Games for Mobile Devices
The early success of PBel led Belamant to seek public funding and scale up the business. He then began creating social games that people could play on their mobile phones, a new idea in 2006 that became wildly popular in a hurry. People could buy pre-paid airtime to play games and purchase virtual assets. Users could also compete to win prizes, or, if they preferred, additional credit for airtime and games.
Between 2006 and 2012, people’s interest shifted to mobile payment technology capability and airtime competitions instead of the mobile games originally launched under the PBel name. Philip Belamant made an executive decision to focus on the creation of a business that allowed people to make mobile payments without having an established relationship with a bank. Belamant’s decision marked a major shift for PBel just as it was about to expand beyond South Africa into Namibia.
Namibia Expansion a Great Success
After meeting with the leader of Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia, Philip Belamant launched the combined payment model and airtime competition in that country. His company scaled at a significant rate from that point forward.