Small Business Advice

PlanetSpark Innovation Centre Launched to Enable Tech Startups Achieve Market Deployment

PlanetSpark | January 13, 2021

Backed by its SGX-listed parent company Excelpoint and supported by Enterprise Singapore, PlanetSpark Innovation Centre will be investing an initial S$5 million to expand its engineering capabilities, expecting to benefit more than 30 local startups over the next 3 years, while creating new opportunities across the semiconductor supply chain.

SINGAPORE & TOKYO, Jan 12, 2021 - (ACN Newswire) - PlanetSpark Pte. Ltd., the entrepreneurial and strategic investment arm of SGX mainboard-listed Excelpoint Technology Ltd(1) ("Excelpoint"), has announced the launch of PlanetSpark Innovation Centre, the first hardware-targeted accelerator for Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) innovations, dedicated to supporting Singapore tech startups speed up market deployment.

Supported by Enterprise Singapore and backed by Excelpoint, PlanetSpark will invest an initial S$5 million to expand the centre's engineering capabilities and develop technology platforms, and has secured a lineup of five startups for its upcoming pilot run of accelerator programme. The new centre, situated at Changi Business Park, is officially opened today by Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing.

The path for an AIoT technology to reach market deployment has many hurdles and requires a long gestation period. A major contributor of this phenomenon lies in the high complexity associated with AIoT solution development - from proof-of-concept to production, and eventual commercialisation.

PlanetSpark Innovation Centre sets out to address these challenges by offering a one-stop ecosystem that brings together innovators, hardware and software providers, venture capitalists, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), manufacturers and potential customers. Startups can tap into Excelpoint's vast industry networks of semiconductor manufacturers, sales channel partners and design engineering expertise - enabling the startups to expedite product design and optimise system-level integration for rapid prototyping, thereby reducing their time, cost and risks in bringing their solutions to market.

Mr Satvinder Singh, Assistant Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Singapore, said, "The PlanetSpark Innovation Centre is a welcome addition to Singapore's vibrant technology and innovation ecosystem. It brings ideas, people and networks together to scale innovative AIoT solutions to market and provides enterprises with the necessary resources to build capabilities and drive the development of innovative AIoT solutions. This is important as demand for such solutions is expected to grow in tandem with the region's emergence of smart homes, cities and industries."

PlanetSpark will be kicking off the 24-week accelerator programme designed to equip startups with tools and market-informed knowledge. Besides connecting the startups to industry mentors and supply chain partners, the centre will also be helping them jumpstart their AIoT technology by providing customised system integration solution (or "middleware") - one of the most critical link in determining the scalability and interoperability of an AIoT solution.

The pilot group of startups are developing market-deployable solutions integrating the middleware to solve real-world challenges in thermal sensing, facial recognition, satellite tracking and edge AI analytics.

Currently, the PlanetSpark-exclusive middleware is powered by the technology stacks of NASDAQ-listed global companies, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. ("Qualcomm") and Xilinx, Inc. ("Xilinx"), both Excelpoint's long-time partners. Qualcomm is the world's leading wireless technology innovator and the driving force behind 5G and related IoT technologies and chipsets, whereas Xilinx is a world leading manufacturer of programmable logic devices for edge AI computation. In time, PlanetSpark plans to add new industry partners to its ecosystem network to drive additional value for the participating startups.

Mr. Albert Phuay Yong Hen, Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer of Excelpoint, added, "In the fast-evolving electronics industry, speed to market is key and Excelpoint is uniquely positioned at the intersection of electronics technology and supply chain management.

Excelpoint is honoured to have the strong support from Enterprise Singapore to groom the next generation of technopreneurs at PlanetSpark Innovation Centre. This innovation centre is an investment we made to nurture our Singapore-grown talents and bring our Singapore pride to the globe.

Through Excelpoint, we are thankful for the partnership with leaders in semiconductor technology, such as Xilinx and Qualcomm who have jointly worked with us for the first batch of platforms. Together, we wish to bring in our expertise and market knowledge, and open doors to opportunities in the region."

Ms Phuay Li Ying, Managing Director of PlanetSpark, said, "Through my work at Excelpoint, I see many Singapore hardware startups face challenges in accessing technologies from industry leaders, gaining market knowledge and finding channels to enter the regional market.

This is a gap that PlanetSpark Innovation Centre aims to bridge by leveraging on the strengths of Excelpoint and working closely with company founders to develop and integrate their AIoT technology and innovations in a way that is customer-centric and scalable, therefore creating new sources of revenue for these startups. Only then, we can build a robust foundation for them to co-pollinate with other players in the ecosystem.

Our role as a technology validator will also provide an indication of the potential of the startups for venture capital firms, which plays a key role in the success of a startup. Our ultimate objective is to have a collaborative hardware ecosystem where such start-ups can accelerate their growth and commercialisation plans, attract venture capital funding and create new possibilities for local technology innovations and economic growth."

The global IoT market is predicted to reach a scale of USD$1102.6 billion in 2026(2). Through the initiatives and collaborations spearheaded by the PlanetSpark Innovation Centre, the eventual market deployment of the startups' AIoT innovations is expected to create new opportunities in Singapore's semiconductor supply chain and accelerate Singapore's Smart Nation and Industrial 4.0 transformation.

(1) Excelpoint Technology Ltd is a leading regional B2B business platform providing quality electronic components with integrated R&D capabilities. Excelpoint has been an integral part of the global electronics technology value chain for more than 30 years.

(2) ( (Accessed 18 Dec 2020)

About PlanetSpark Pte Ltd

PlanetSpark Pte Ltd ("PlanetSpark") is the entrepreneurial and investment arm of Excelpoint Technology Ltd. ("Excelpoint"), investing in, supporting and collaborating with promising early- to mid-stage start-ups which have commercially viable technologies and products in Singapore and Asia that are related to the Artificial Intelligence ("AI") and Internet of Things ("IoT") ecosystem. PlanetSpark seeks to enable new market opportunities in hardware innovation and technology within the ecosystem with our investments and resources.

PlanetSpark Innovation Centre is a go-to-market hardware accelerator in Asia for technopreneurs specialising in the AI and IoT arena to accelerate their technology innovations and enable them to make a fluid transition from proof-of-concept to production and commercialisation through our hardware platforms.

Tapping on Excelpoint's extensive business networks and market knowledge across Asia Pacific, we strive to forge collaborative and innovative partnerships within our field.

For more information about PlanetSpark, please visit

About Excelpoint Technology Ltd.

Excelpoint Technology Ltd. and its subsidiaries are a leading regional business-to-business platform providing quality electronic components, engineering design services and supply chain management to original equipment manufacturers ("OEMs"), original design manufacturers ("ODMs") and electronics manufacturing services ("EMS") in the Asia Pacific region. EBN, a premier online community for global supply chain professionals, recognised Excelpoint Technology Ltd. as one of its Top 25 Global Electronics Distributors in 2017.

Excelpoint works closely with its principals to create innovative solutions to complement its customers' products and solutions. Aimed at improving its customers' operational efficiency and cost competitiveness, the Group has set up research and development centres in Singapore and China that are helmed by its dedicated team of professional engineers.

Established in 1987 and headquartered in Singapore, Excelpoint's business presence spans more than 10 countries across Asia Pacific with a workforce of more than 650 people from different nationalities and cultural backgrounds.

For more information about Excelpoint, please visit

For any media enquiries, please contact:
Mr. Alex TAN
Mobile: +65 9451 5252



Related News


Tide Helps More SMEs Simplify Accounting With ‘First-of-its-Kind’ Upgrade

Businesswire | August 04, 2023

Tide, the leading digital business financial platform, has today launched its improved Tide Accounting tool, powered by Sage, to help more small businesses meet their accounting needs directly from one place - their bank account.At present SMEs have to connect multiple solutions to their accounting software - their bank account, payments providers, payroll and more. Managing these systems is complex, time-consuming and costly. To address this, Tide Accounting has streamlined the process into one user-friendly experience. Tide members can get paid, manage their bills, track their business performance and file their taxes – all via an embedded accounting service directly from their Tide account.The simple tool, launched last year for cash accounting, has now been upgraded to introduce standard accrual-based accounting. It’s the first solution of its kind embedded in a bank account. Standard accrual-based accounting recognises revenue when it's earned and expenses when they’re incurred. Most businesses in the UK use this method. Adding this service to the platform means Tide solutions are available to many more SMEs.Today’s launch strengthens Tide's mission to save SMEs time and money when running their businesses by adding to the platform’s banking, finance and admin solutions. These already include invoice generation, payment and payroll services and expense cards. In addition, businesses using Tide Accounting can utilise their records to access credit opportunities via the Tide Partner Credit marketplace. Available to existing Tide Members, Tide Accounting supports SMEs across their business journey, bringing together the following features: Get Paid Invoice customers to get paid on time, and spot unpaid invoices. Tide members can automate invoice matching and payment reminders with Invoice Assistant. Manage bills Pay bills at the right time to manage cash flow. Track business performance Keep financials in check to grow the business by reconciling accounts and balancing the books, directly from the Tide app. Members can categorise transactions, adding VAT rates and receipts. File taxes Submit tax returns accurately and securely. This includes automatically generated estimates for sole traders that make it easier to fill in self-assessment tax forms. In addition, members can submit their VAT return via Making Tax Digital with HMRC-compliant software, straight from their Tide account. New members opening a bank account through Tide’s Company Formation service will benefit from a free six-months access to Tide Accounting. Vinay Ramani, Chief Product Officer at Tide, said: “For small business owners, accounting can be very time-consuming and intimidating as they have to move transactions from their bank account to their accounting tools. Tide Accounting introduces accrual-based accounting embedded in a bank account - unlocking real convenience and ease of use without the stress and hassle. And once their accounting is done well - those businesses become more attractive for credit opportunities via the Tide Partner Credit marketplace. In this way our strategy to help a small business with their overall banking, finance and admin needs comes to life.” Neil Watkins, EVP Product at Sage, said: “We know that technology is vital to the creation, survival, and growth of SMEs across all sectors and like Sage, Tide is on a mission to help small business owners get their work done more efficiently by streamlining and simplifying processes. “We are pleased Tide chose Sage Accounting and Compliance as a Service (ACaaS) as a key component of their Tide Accounting offering, enabling small businesses to do their business banking, bookkeeping and accounting in one seamless experience. Today’s newest development to support accrual based accounting will help even more small businesses simplify their money admin, to radically simplify their essential bookkeeping and accounting tasks.” About Tide Tide is the leading provider of UK SME business accounts and one of the fastest-growing FinTechs in the UK. Tide is live in the UK and India with over 500,000 members in the UK and more than 50,000 in India. We’re just getting started! Tide is transforming the business banking market. Our platform not only offers business accounts and related banking services, but also a comprehensive set of highly connected admin tools for businesses, such as full integration with accounting systems (live for our UK members, coming soon to India). Using advanced technology, all solutions are designed with SMEs in mind.

Read More


Bluevine Launches Accounts Payable Solution Fully Integrated with its Small Business Banking Platform

Fintech Futures | August 01, 2023

Bluevine, the leading provider of small business banking solutions, today announced the launch of its new accounts payable (AP) offering to help business owners and their teams simplify business payments management from within their Bluevine Business Checking accounts. With accounts payable through Bluevine, business owners can now easily automate each step of their AP process, including bill capture and storage, approval workflows, payment scheduling, automatic accounting reconciliation, and user provisioning and management. As SMBs grow, keeping up with bill payment and management is as much a source of pain as it is essential for optimizing cash flow. With few alternatives available to businesses of this size, the seamless addition of a robust AP feature set and easy-to-use dashboard to Bluevine’s all-in-one digital banking platform reinforces the company’s commitment to helping SMB owners save time and money by applying innovative solutions to everyday problems. For nearly 10 years, Bluevine has been dedicated to building all of its banking and financial service products with small businesses in mind, tailoring the capabilities and user experience to their specific needs.The company’s focus on business payments is not new. In 2022, Bluevine introduced its initial bill pay offering, providing free ACH and low-cost wires along with the convenience of a payments dashboard to send, track, and manage payments. Earlier this year, Bluevine announced the launch of international payments, enabling SMB owners to send payments globally at competitive rates. With the launch of its accounts payable solution, Bluevine further empowers customers with new bill management and payment features, such as: Unpaid Bills Dashboard, Your New Digital Filing Cabinet: One place to upload, view, and store all of your bills and invoices. Quickly add bills to your dashboard by taking a photo or uploading a file, then Bluevine captures the data from your bills through optical character recognition (OCR) and presents them to you for one-click confirmation. Secure, Delegated Access for Team Members: Add anyone in the company who needs to be involved in your accounts payable process, and set their permissions to reflect exactly what you need them to do. Route Bills and Payments for Review and Approval: Digitally submit bills and payments for review and approval to one or multiple team members, including setting the logic for the sequence of approvals to optimize how you run your ideal accounts payable process. Easily Send Payments. Schedule payments from your dashboard with options that meet your preference, whether ACH, Check, Wire, Credit Card, or International Payments – and take advantage of Bluevine’s low-fee payment options. Also, easily track payments to verify when your vendor has received what you owed. Automatic Reconciliation with QuickBooks Online: Minimize manual data entry, reduce the risk of fraudulent and duplicate payments, set up recurring payments, and streamline approvals with workflow automation designed to cut down back and forth. “As small businesses scale, often they face more complexity in managing their operations. Our accounts payable solution is purpose-built to strike a balance between providing a robust set of AP automation tools, with the ease-of-use that our customers have come to expect from Bluevine,” said Charles Amadon, SVP, GM of Banking at Bluevine. “Every decision we make has the SMB at the heart of it, starting with the essential question – will this help them grow and run their business easier? Based on customer feedback we knew AP automation was something they wanted and needed. Putting all that power right into their checking account dashboard is an exciting step forward, and further differentiates Bluevine Business Checking with even more added value.” Small business owners normally face high transaction fees from traditional banks when paying bills, especially via wire, ACH, or international payments. With Bluevine’s transparent fee structure, free ACH, and low-cost wires, customers enjoy simple, upfront pricing. Additionally, Bluevine Business Checking offers unlimited transactions, live support, and no monthly fees while giving customers the opportunity to earn 2.0% interest on balances up to and including $250,000. “As my company has grown bigger, I certainly encountered the need for more advanced bill payment and management features to handle the complexities that come up as you scale,” said Cayden Young, founder of Tech Leaf, a Utah-based renewed electronics provider that helped flagship the eBay Refurbished Program and has experienced upwards of 120% growth in annual revenue over the past three years, requiring the company to triple its warehouse space over the same period. “With Bluevine, I get accounts payable features that are fully integrated right into my checking account. The smooth user experience allows me to save the equivalent of a full 8-hour work day per month because of how easy it is to add vendors, upload bills, access payment histories, and sync with my Quickbooks Online Advanced account—in addition to paying and tracking both domestic and international payments.” About Bluevine Bluevine provides small businesses with streamlined banking solutions built for them. Since launching in 2013, Bluevine’s innovative and intuitive products, including business checking, bill pay, and line of credit, have helped over 500,000 entrepreneurs save time and money so they can focus on what matters most: growing their business. Bluevine is backed by leading private and institutional investors, including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures, 83North, Citi Ventures, ION Crossover Partners, SVB Capital, Nationwide Insurance, and M12 (Microsoft’s Venture Arm). Lines of credit are issued by Celtic Bank, a Utah-chartered Industrial Bank, Member of FDIC. Banking Services provided by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC.

Read More


U.S. Bank and Elavon Launch Next Gen talech Terminal for Small Businesses

Business Wire | August 31, 2023

Elavon, a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. Bank, is launching the next generation of talech software to help small business owners more efficiently run their businesses without the large upfront investment often needed to purchase a new payments system. The talech Terminal payment solution is a simple and powerful point-of-sale system that allows business owners to accept payments anywhere, anytime with various hardware options, including mobile/fixed hardware and in-store terminals. U.S. Bank and Elavon launched talech Register in 2022 as its next generation all-in-one payments and business analytics platform that empowers small business owners to better manage their operations. Now the next evolution of talech software -- talech Terminal -- builds on the success of talech Register and offers more payment options for business owners. This is the latest addition to a growing suite of simple and intuitive products that integrate payments and banking solutions for small business owners, creating greater efficiencies and competitive advantages. “Our goal is to enable small business owners to focus on what they do best, eliminating the burden of managing customer payments,” said Pari Sawant, chief product officer for Elavon. “This solution is a perfect option for business owners who value their privacy and prefer not to mix their personal mobile phones for customer transactions.” Elavon’s leading all-in-one payments and business analytic platform, talech, empowers small business owners to better manage their operations through its elevated and supported offerings, flexibility for basic payment transactions and more robust business management options. “talech Terminal is a continuation of our multi-year strategy to deliver integrated hardware and software payment experiences for our small business customers following the successful launches of talech mobile in 2020 and talech Register in 2022. Terminal goes beyond basic payment acceptance and allows businesses to run their business in a simple, elegant form factor,” said Joy Ghanekar, chief product officer, talech. It offers an intuitive, easy to use interface, simple product organization and access to basic reporting features. Other features of the talech Terminal system include: • Credit Card Surcharge • Inventory Management Capabilities • Employee Management Support About Elavon Elavon is owned by U.S. Bank, the fifth-largest bank in the United States, and provides end-to-end payment processing solutions and services to more than 1.3 million customers in the United States, Europe, and Canada. As the leading provider for airlines and a top five provider in hospitality, healthcare, retail, and public sector/education, Elavon’s innovative payment solutions are designed to solve pain points for businesses from small to the largest global enterprises. About U.S. Bank U.S. Bancorp, with approximately 77,000 employees and $681 billion in assets as of June 30, 2023, is the parent company of U.S. Bank National Association. The Minneapolis-based company serves millions of customers locally, nationally and globally through a diversified mix of businesses: Consumer and Business Banking; Payment Services; Corporate & Commercial Banking; and Wealth Management and Investment Services. Union Bank, consisting primarily of retail banking branches on the West Coast, joined U.S. Bancorp in 2022. U.S. Bancorp has been recognized for its approach to digital innovation, social responsibility, and customer service, including being named one of the 2023 World’s Most Ethical Companies and Fortune’s most admired superregional bank. To learn more, please visit the U.S. Bancorp website at and click on “About Us.”

Read More