SWORD Health becomes Portugal’s latest unicorn
SWORD Health, a health-tech with Portuguese DNA has become Portugal’s latest and sixth unicorn after bagging an investment round worth US$163 million (€142 million).
SWORD Health, which provides a digital musculoskeletal (MSK) solution, announced a Series D funding round led by Sapphire Ventures, a leading global technology-focused venture capital firm, on Monday.
The round involved new investors Sozo Ventures, Willoughby Capital, ADQ and Localglobe, and from major investors including General Catalyst, Khosla Ventures, Founders Fund, Bond, Transformation Capital, and Green Innovations.
The primary funding round of $163 million, valued at $1.8Bn, (€1.6Bn) was heavily oversubscribed, resulting in investors purchasing an additional $26 million in a secondary transaction, which propelled the valuation to $2Bn and catapulting SWORD Health to become the fastest growing health-tech unicorn in Europe. The round brings the total venture capital invested in SWORD to more than $320 million.
“SWORD Health’s approach to resolving MSK disorders is truly differentiated. Their unique PT + Digital Therapist model which includes an FDA listed device has gained significant market acceptance evidenced by their 12x customer growth,” said Rajeev Dham, Partner at Sapphire Ventures. “Through our market and customer work, we found that SWORD is providing tangible clinical outcomes to drive healthier, happier lives for individuals, and meaningful cost-savings for customers — a winning approach. Most of all, we are thrilled to partner with Virgilio, one of the hardest working and passionate founders we’ve encountered”.
The round will enable SWORD to accelerate its mission to free two billion people from physical pain through more personalised MSK based offerings — from prevention to post-surgical care — while still remaining at the forefront of value-based digital MSK care and expanding local and global operations among self-insured employers, health plans and other entities.
“I started SWORD after a traumatic personal experience where I saw first-hand the challenges that families face when they have to recover a loved one,” shared Virgílio Bento, founder and CEO of SWORD Health. “It’s been truly humbling to see the impact SWORD is having on thousands of members across the globe. With this new funding, we will accelerate our value creation for members, self-insured employers and health plans, as we continue to build the flagship digital MSK solution in the healthcare world, everywhere and for everyone”.
SWORD Health is the fastest health-tech unicorn in Europe and one of the fastest growing companies in the US in the last year. Besides having a 20x valuation increase in the last 12 months, its client count increased 12x to 150 in the same time period. Not only that, in 2021 the Portuguese-born startup delivered 10x the minutes of therapy of 2020 and 2019 combined. Internally, SWORD Health grew its workforce 3 times in the last year, today with over 250 employees.
The health-tech unicorn will hire 300 employees over the next months, filling key roles in operations, marketing, tech, and people, offering a remote and flexible work policy to attract world class talent.
Three out of four employers that conducted head-to-head evaluations among MSK solutions have selected SWORD. They have cited a variety of reasons: 100% of its services are provided by Doctors of Physical Therapy (DPT), an FDA-listed device that provides clinical data to DPTs to personalise the member journey, and third-party validation for both clinical results and savings.
All told, Portugal’s six unicorns are now worth €33Bn. They are Farfetch, Outsystems, Feedzai, Talkdesk and Remote, all companies of Portuguese origin that achieved a value of €1Bn.