SwineTech® began when friends Matthew Rooda and Abraham Espinoza were searching for a solution to reduce piglet crushing at the farrow-to-finish farm Michael worked at in Waterloo. After just one semester at the University of Iowa, Rooda and Espinoza presented their initial findings at the John Pappajohn Founders Club. They were awarded 1st place for “Most Likely to Succeed and Most Viable Business”.
After receiving a $1500 grant from the John Pappajohn Foundation, Rooda and Espinoza went to the World Pork Expo in 2015 to gather more information. There they found out that 92% of pork producers were searching for a solution to piglet crushing without success. With this they began experimenting with development devices.
Instead of taking a passive safety approach towards managing the sow/piglet relationship, SwineTech decided to take an active safety path by intervening on the sows actions only when a piglet was in danger. After finding an adhesive for which the device to securely and comfortably be attached to the sow, they then needed to create an ethical means to remind the sow to not crush her piglets.
After developing their product, which is now known as the SmartGuard device, they were able to achieve a detection accuracy rate of 94% which then resulted in a 59% decrease in piglet crushing. With their specialty in the swine industry combined with their vast data network on sow information, SwineTech® is paving the way to offer the best care for pigs around the world. Since its inception, the company has hit a milestone of protecting 1,000,000 piglets.
Through the assistance of the University of Iowa SBDC and the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, SwineTech® has been able to secure angel and venture capital funding and develop a solid business plan. SwineTech® has won several business plan competitions and various other awards from MIT, American Farm Bureau, and the Investors Hall of Fame. Co-founders Matthew Rooda and Abraham Espinoza have also been recognized by Forbes as part of the 30 under 30 most promising companies in manufacturing and industry. The company was named as the October 2019 Small Business of the Month by America’s SBDC Iowa.
SwineTech® is set to be the leader in the development of technologies that improve the welfare, productivity, and sustainability for every pork producer in the world.