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EIT Health supported SWORD Health becomes unicorn

Portuguese EIT Health-supported start-up, SWORD Health, has recently closed a Series D investment round of USD 163 million and has reached a USD 2 billion valuation, thus becoming the country’s first health ‘Unicorn’.

SWORD Health offers virtual care for patients with musculoskeletal (MSK) pain by matching them with digital therapists to facilitate pain management with exercise.

The team has experienced some impressive growth in recent years. Making history in its home country by becoming the first health Unicorn - a term commonly used for start-ups valued at over USD 1 billion - with Portuguese DNA, it is also amongst a newly emerging list of digital health Unicorns coming out of Europe such as Babylon Health, Virta Health and Kry.

SWORD Health has been supported by EIT Health since 2018. The team first worked with us on SwitHome, an EIT Health Innovation project which aimed to let post-stroke patients undergo rehabilitation at home. The SWORD Health team has also benefited from EIT Health accelerator programmes, including Bridgehead, which helped them to expand their growth globally.

“The growth rate of SWORD Health has been truly impressive. Less than three years ago, the team raised a USD 7,8 million Series A round. Now, they close the year with USD 320 million in funding and the current round valuation at USD 1.8 billion. We’re proud to have supported SWORD Health on their journey and wish them the very best of luck in their continued success”

Kurt Höller, Director of Business Creation at EIT Health

Virgilio Bento, founder and CEO of SWORD Health launched the company after a traumatic personal experience during which he personally witnessed how challenging it is for families to recover from a health event. SWORD Health has developed clinically validated digital solutions that work across all the major musculoskeletal issues, at any point in the journey, from prevention to acute conditions, chronic pain or post-surgical recovery.

“This investment round will enable SWORD Health 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”

Virgilio Bento, founder and CEO of SWORD Health

The Series D funding was led by Sapphire Ventures and other investors such as Sozo Ventures, Willoughby Capital, ADQ, and Localglobe.