Porto-born Sword Health raises €3.7 milllion in seed funding to accelerate the development of new digital therapies and to boost the startup’s global growth.
The latest round of funding was led by by Green Innovations and Vesalius Biocapital, along with other investors in Europe and the United States.
Sword Health’s flagship product, Sword Phoenix, was the first digital therapist to combine motion sensors with artificial intelligence.
Phoenix enables patients to conduct their physiotherapy sessions from their own home with performance feedback in real-time while always being monitored by the startup’s clinical team.
“Right now there is a failure in our capacity as a developed society to provide high quality physical therapy and intensive services. Our digital therapist allows the democratization of access to high quality physiotherapy for patients in the comfort of their home,” said Sword Health Founder and CEO, Virgílio Bento.
“It represents a new paradigm that will define the next 50 years of physiotherapy around the world.” – Virgílio Bento, CEO and Founder at Sword Health.
With the latest round of funding, the Portuguese startup with a presence in San Francisco, California, is looking to provide more digital physiotherapy solutions like Phoenix, which provides access to relevant information regarding patient performance while increasing the operational efficiency of clinical teams, according to a press relase.
“We have spent the last three years developing and refining the technology, drawing on the greatest developments in artificial intelligence that underpin our digital therapist, Sword Phoenix, as well as demonstrating its efficiency through intensive clinical studies. We will now focus on expanding into the global marketplace, developing new digital therapies and more clinical trials,” added Bento.
Since patients using Phoenix can recover from their homes, they have access to quality, high-intensity therapy, increasing levels of involvement and commitment of patients to their recovery process.
“Physiotherapy faces a number of significant challenges; it is very dependent on a small number of specialists. This dependence causes increased costs for patients and health care providers as well as communication and organizational difficulties for health care providers,” said Guy Geldhof, Partner at Vesalius Biocapital.
“Sword Health has the potential to revolutionize physiotherapy and we are pleased to support Virgílio and his talented team in their next phase of growth.” – Guy Geldhof, Partner at Vesalius Biocapital.
Sword Health clinical trials have shown that 93% of patients who have been rehabilitated with Phoenix showed an improved quality of motor skills.
Based in Porto, Sword Health was founded in 2014, and its products are used worldwide in countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Mexico, and Japan.
In 2015, Sword Health was selected for funding under the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument, with a project of 1.3 million euros.
It was the only Portuguese startup among the 135 European companies that had been selected under Phase 2 of the SME Instrument, with the aim of creating a European Innovation Champions League – an elite group of companies moving Europe forward in the global market of research, growth and innovation.
Under Phase 1 of the SME Instrument there were six Portuguese companies.
By the end of 2014, Sword Health also became the first Portuguese company being accepted in Aging 2.0, the biggest health accelerator, dedicated especially to solutions that improve the quality of life of older adults.
Thanks to that, they were able to establish a partnership with Genesis Rehab, the largest chain of rehabilitation centers in the USA (2,100 hospital centers, 18,000 therapists who rehabilitate more than 45,000 patients per day).