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) https://www.fortunebusinessinsights.com/ (https://bit.ly/3sbELxB) (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 https://www.planetspark.io


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 www.excelpoint.com


For any media enquiries, please contact:
Mr. Alex TAN
Mobile: +65 9451 5252
Email: alex.tan@8prasia.com

Spotlight

Once you’ve come up with a business idea that you believe in, the next step is getting investors to believe in it, too. You need to pitch your idea in a way that’s interesting and informative -- and quick.

Spotlight

Once you’ve come up with a business idea that you believe in, the next step is getting investors to believe in it, too. You need to pitch your idea in a way that’s interesting and informative -- and quick.

Related News

FINANCE

Funding Circle and Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union Partner to Improve Credit Access for Small Business Owners

Funding Circle | September 08, 2022

Funding Circle, the leading online platform for small business loans, and Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union (Affinity Plus), a Minnesota-based credit union, are partnering to provide small businesses with access to credit in communities throughout Minnesota and across the country. The partnership enables Affinity Plus — the first credit union investor to partner with Funding Circle — to purchase loans originated through Funding Circle’s world-class machine learning and technology platform. The platform offers investors a highly efficient and cost-effective mechanism to lend directly to small businesses, and in turn provides business owners with a streamlined application process and timeline. In addition to its members in Minnesota, Affinity Plus will now be able to offer loans to businesses across the nation. “Our work with Affinity Plus underscores our commitment to building a more inclusive financial environment for small businesses to grow and thrive with a diverse array of institutions.“We are excited to help Affinity Plus reach even more small business owners playing a critical role in local communities and supporting local economies throughout the country.” Angus Sanders, Chief Revenue Officer at Funding Circle US “Affinity Plus is committed to financial inclusion for its members and their communities – by making available affordable products and a deeper connection that helps take the stress out of finances,” said Matt Fuller, Vice President of Finance and Risk Management at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union. “Funding Circle is a leader in responsible small business lending, and we are thrilled to leverage our partnership to provide businesses throughout the country with fast and simple access to financing, allowing them to grow their business, create new jobs and power the economy.” Affinity Plus joins a wide range of institutions leveraging Funding Circle’s platform, including regional banks, technology companies, service-to-member institutions and community development financial institutions (CDFIs), marking another step forward in a growing collaboration between Funding Circle and the banking community. The announcement follows a recent Federal Reserve study showing that Funding Circle has been able to expand credit access to underserved small business owners who are not likely to receive funding from traditional lenders, noting it has done so at a lower cost to borrowers and made it possible for those banks to reach new customers during the pandemic. About Funding Circle Funding Circle (LSE: FCH) is a small and medium business (“SMB”) loans platform. Since launching in 2010, investors and lenders including banks, community development financial institutions, specialty finance companies, asset management companies, insurance companies, government-backed entities, and funds – have lent approximately $18 billion to over c.120,000 businesses globally. About Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union Based in St. Paul, Minn., Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, financial cooperative that puts people first above profits. Members of Affinity Plus receive maximum value through competitive rates, minimal fees, and unique, member-centric products and programs. Established in 1930, Affinity Plus has 30 branches located throughout Minnesota and is owned by more than 240,000 members. Affinity Plus has more than $3.9 billion in assets.

Read More

BUSINESS STRATEGY

Azull Capital partners with SouLA

Azull Capital | October 03, 2022

Azull Capital and SouLA are coming together with their backbone partner Image Source who will commit their dollars to underserved communities in a meaningful way. They as a collective will produce two very distinct and very signature, unlike any other event to date. These events will celebrate community and commerce while also setting a foundation for building blocks of whole communities.Azull Capital supports & partners with SouLA to create a community where equal opportunities are provided for every business ownership, career advancement, affordable credit and many more. Business loans these companies are providing are designed with the business in mind and are customizable to work with unique business model. They are dedicated to helping businesses grow on their personalized terms. Until now, small businesses had to rely on the banks and their strict lending criteria to get business funding to grow. Azull Capital and SouLA says no more would there need to be such restrictions in place.Stay tuned for further details on the Kairos Summit Week of May 25th Tied to All Africa Day and the Kingdom Day Celebration January 2023. About Azull Capital About Azull Capitalis a business finance company that provides alternative funding to small and medium sized businesses. Azull Capital was founded by a team of entrepreneurs who understand the challenges of getting a bank loan and how traditional lenders are overburdening small business owners. Azull simplified everything by accepting and approving business loan requests in as little as 3 steps. They help not only in the matter of giving loans but also organize financial trainings. About SouLA SouLA partners with major corporations to increase their revenue streams by delivering consumers that have been largely ignored due to systems of racism, sexism, gender bias, ageism, or poverty. Both groups also have an international reach and are able to leverage relationships in India & Africa to help fulfill the Global Compact requirements of the United Nations in the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).

Read More

FINANCE, SMALL BUSINESS ADVICE

Amazon and Lendistry Fuel Small Business Growth with Expansion of Amazon Community Lending Program

Lendistry | September 30, 2022

A year after its successful pilot launch, Amazon announced today that it will roll out the Amazon Community Lending program as a long-term offering to help even more sellers grow. In partnership with B.S.D. Capital, Inc. dba Lendistry (“Lendistry”), this program will continue to support urban and rural small businesses in socially and economically distressed communities through short-term loans at competitive and affordable rates. Since its launch, the program has loaned more than $35 million to over 800 sellers—surpassing the original goal of $10 million during the pilot. Now, the program plans to loan more than $150 million in the next three years to small businesses selling in the Amazon US store. At Colsen, we have big ambitions to grow the business but a need for capital to facilitate it was critical, explains Armando Colimodio, co-owner of Colsen, an ecommerce business based in Miami, FL. By working with Amazon Community Lending, we’ve been able to invest in our business and expand our great product selection through the program’s simple and quick loan acceptance process. We expect to double our sales this year and remain committed to growing our product portfolio. Amazon sellers account for more than half of all units sold in Amazon’s store. Small businesses approved for a loan from Lendistry through the Amazon Community Lending program can use these funds to grow their business in Amazon’s US store and to cover other strategic business needs, such as staffing and operations costs, inventory, product development and manufacturing, and marketing efforts to build their brands and grow their customer base. Loans provided by Lendistry through this program will range from $10,000 to $250,000 with terms of up to five years. Businesses in our communities are often launched with limited responsible options for funding, shares Talisha Bekavac, executive vice president of U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. “The Amazon Community Lending program has created a model that helps Black-owned businesses grow and thrive with a minimum loan size of $10,000 and rates at an affordable and competitive level. Since 2011, Amazon has provided loans to small businesses selling in its stores through Amazon Lending. The company believes that an infusion of working capital at the right moment can help sellers succeed. Through its partnership with Lendistry, an established minority-led Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Amazon can now help reach urban and rural small businesses in socially and economically distressed communities. The majority of the funds Lendistry has historically disbursed have gone to traditionally low-to-moderate income communities, minority-owned businesses, and other historically disadvantaged business owners and the communities they serve. Amazon believes businesses of all sizes should have access to financing, payment options, and funds management tools,explains Tai Koottatep, director and general manager of Amazon B2B Payments and Lending. “The Amazon Community Lending program was developed to help provide sellers in socially and economically distressed communities with working capital as well as one-on-one coaching, education programs, webinars, and classes to help them grow now, and in the future. In addition to providing access to critical working capital, the Amazon Community Lending program provides small businesses access to supplementary resources from Lendistry, including one-on-one consulting, webinars, and on-demand educational classes. Small businesses also have access to Amazon’s Seller University and Amazon Small Business Academy to help them succeed. “When Amazon came to us with the idea for the Amazon Community Lending Program, we knew it would make a significant difference for small businesses that need responsible capital to grow, Together, we’ve done impactful work to expand opportunities for growing businesses and give them a responsible lending option.” Lendistry CEO, Everett K. Sands Each year Amazon invests billions of dollars to help sellers expand their businesses by improving the infrastructure, tools, services, and fulfillment solutions to sell in Amazon’s store. In addition to Amazon Community Lending, Amazon separately offers the Black Business Accelerator (BBA) program, which provides access to financial assistance, strategic business education and coaching, and marketing and advertising support to help Black business owners succeed as sellers in Amazon’s store. Amazon also provides a number of other financial tools to help sellers grow—now and in the future. In the last decade, Amazon has introduced convenient financing options through Amazon Lending, rewards on Amazon purchases with the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card, and automatic proceeds disbursements through the Amazon Currency Converter for Sellers (ACCS).

Read More