Rosaline Chow Koo. Bloomberg

CXA Group, a Singapore-based health service backed by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, raised $25 million by selling convertible debt to new investors including HSBC Holdings Plc as it expands in Asia.

Other investors include Singtel Innov8, Telkom Indonesia MDI Ventures, Sumitomo Corp. Equity Asia, Muang Thai Fuchsia Ventures, Humanica Pcl and Heritas Venture Fund, CXA said in a statement on Wednesday. 

The startup had raised $33 million from two previous financing rounds.

CXA is the brainchild of an unusual founder. Not only is Rosaline Chow Koo a rare female entrepreneur, she grew up poor in Los Angeles and started the business in her 50s. A former executive at Mercer Marsh Benefits, Koo founded CXA in 2013 as a personalised employee health and wellness benefits platform. The company now serves more than 600 companies and more than 400,000 employees in 20 countries.

“These strategic investors are also coming in as clients so I get to grow with them,” Koo, now 57 and chief executive of CXA, said in an interview. “This provides us huge expansion and growth. In a year’s time, we should be profitable.”

Revenue increased 65 percent in 2018 and is expected to double in 2019, Koo said. She declined to disclose the current valuation of her firm, which hit $100 million in 2017. She’s aiming for a valuation of $1 billion or more -- what the tech industry calls a unicorn -- within three to five years.

People in Asia are getting hit with chronic diseases earlier than in the West so they need flexibility in how they manage health-care costs, Koo said. CXA allows employees to shift their traditional insurance money -- typically used for illness, injuries or death -- to combat these chronic diseases or to get mentally or physically healthier.

CXA tailors the benefits to each individual’s life stage by using machine learning technology, according to Koo. The employees can use their e-wallet in the mobile app to select service providers and spend their allowance instead of getting one-size-fits-all benefits.

“With the collective support of banks, insurers, telcos and payroll companies as co-investors, CXA can now accelerate its expansion into new markets,” said Saverin, co-founder and partner of B Capital Group, which co-led CXA’s series B funding round in 2017.

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