SWORD Health, a Porto-based technology startup that has created an AI-based digital physical therapist, has raised €7 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Khosla Ventures and supported by other business angels, along with existing investors.
SWORD’s digital therapist combines education, behavioural coaching, and tailored exercises to bring physical therapy to patients’ homes, which is especially convenient for those with mobility problems. At the same time, a clinical team composed of physical therapists and physicians can prescribe, evaluate, and supervise the patient’s entire therapeutic program remotely.
SWORD’s approach reduces the pain and disability associated with musculoskeletal disorders, affecting one in three people in the world and more than half the American population, thereby reducing surgery and medication costs. These diseases cost $190 billion a year in the US market alone.
“Care for musculoskeletal diseases has hardly evolved in the last 50 years and yet this is one of the most expensive areas of the health sector,” Vinhos Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures. “SWORD is innovating in and disrupting physical therapy with its technological approach that allows for an exponentially more effective delivery of healthcare for both patients and service providers.”
The startup intends to use the investment to accelerate its expansion into the United States. SWORD’s goal is to bring its digital therapist home to more and more patients, develop the engineering capabilities of its product, and to invest in its clinical validation, which recently showed that the SWORD’s technology is more effective in patient recovery than conventional physical therapy.
SWORD Health is already working with some of the largest insurers in the United States to treat and prevent musculoskeletal diseases. The ultimate goal is to halve the costs of these pathologies in the US, while delivering higher quality therapy and patient comfort.
“We have proven that we have made it possible to make the impossible possible by developing a new technology that is totally unthinkable,” said Virgilio Bento, founder and CEO of SWORD Health. “With this round we want to move from the possible to the inevitable. Musculoskeletal disorders are causing and increasing work absenteeism, promoting the consumption of opioids and paving the way for avoidable surgeries. We are building the next 50 years of physical therapy worldwide and redefining health care for these pathologies.”