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Sword Health raises $130 million, taking its valuation to $3 billion

Sword health, an AI-powered virtual physical therapy startup, raised $30 million and allowed employees to sell $100 million worth of stakes to new and existing investors, including Khosla Ventures. This round brings the nine-year-old company’s valuation to $3 billion, a 50% increase from the $2 billion valuation it raised in a Series D in November 2021.

The company initially intended to do a $100 million secondary round that would allow employees and early investors to sell shares, Virgílio Bento, CEO and founder of Sword, told TechCrunch. But when it saw that the secondary round was oversubscribed, the company also decided to raise $30 million of the primary round and update its valuation.

“It’s a very intense environment: long hours and high expectations. We wanted to reward our team, especially our first employees,» he said.

Sword did not need the capital infusion because it is projected to be profitable by the end of the year, Bento said. However, he liked the signal the updated estimate would send during tough fundraising conditions in 2024.

«Nobody really believes the 2021 estimates given how irrational the market has been,» Bento said. While most employees know the company is doing well, Sword’s clients, which include Fortune 500 employers and health plans, have had no clear way to gauge the company’s progress. «We wanted to show our growth, and the valuation is one indicator of that.»

The company will not use the $30 million for operations. «It will be in the bank, making nice interest,» Bento said.

The latest election round brings Swords’ total funding to $340 million. In addition to Khosla Ventures, the company’s investors include General Catalyst, BOND, Founders Fund and others.

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Demonstrating that Sword is doing so well is likely important to the company because it competes directly with another virtual therapy platform, Hinge Health, which was last valued at $6.2 billion in October 2021. In April, Hinge laid off 10% of its workforce as a step in its plans to achieve profitability in preparation for a potential IPO, TechCrunch reported.

Bento also has an IPO goal for Sword. If the company grows as expected and the macroeconomic environment is favorable, it could potentially go public in 2025, but the company is not committed to a specific timeframe, Bento said.

Meanwhile, the company is beefing up its artificial intelligence. It is introducing a human voice for its genAI, called Phoenix, to its musculoskeletal and women’s pelvic health care therapies. Phoenix powers all patient interactions and Sword’s virtual therapists. «It’s the final piece of the puzzle that makes Phoenix so much more attractive,» Bento said.

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