In competitive market for MSK, Sword valued at $2B

Sword Health uses sensors to guide people through physical therapy exercises. Photo credit: Sword Health

Facing an increasingly competitive market for musculoskeletal care, Sword Health recently struck a $2 billion valuation after closing an oversubscribed series D round. The company originally sought out to raise $163 million in a round led by technology-focused VC firm Sapphire Ventures, but ended up bringing in $26 million more.

Sword is one of several digital health companies looking to provide virtual care for musculoskeletal conditions. To differentiate itself from competitors, it touts its physical therapists and the range of conditions that it covers beyond back pain.

Founder and CEO Virgilio Bento, started the company in 2015, after his family personally experienced the challenges of going through physical rehabilitation.

“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,” he said in a news release. “It’s been truly humbling to see the impact SWORD is having on thousands of members across the globe.”

The company has a service where members can connect with physical therapists to ask questions about their pain. It also has wearable sensors people can use to monitor and correct their movement during exercises at home, and an app with educational content. Sword recently acquired Vigilant Technologies, which builds a device to correct posture, with the goal of preventing injuries.

Like its competitors, Sword primarily works with employers and health plans to cover its services. Some of its customers include Danaher Corp. and Concordia Plan Services.

It plans to use the new funding to expand its operations, working with more self-insured companies and health plans in the U.S. and other countries. In total, the company has raised $320 million to date.

In the meantime, other MSK-focused digital health companies are also bringing in investor cash to fuel their expansion plans. Hinge Health, which uses sensor-guided exercises coupled with guidance from a coach or physical therapist, recently raised $600 million at a $6.2 billion valuation. And Kaia Health, which built an app to guide users through their exercises, recently struck a partnership to offer in-home care with a physical therapist.

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