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SwineTech wins first place at Digital Animal Summit 2019

Last week, Matthew Rooda, CEO and founder of SwineTech, spoke and participated at the 2019 Digital Animal Summit.

The Digital Animal Summit is an annual conference that bring together innovators, investors, executives, and entrepreneurs from animal care, animal production, and animal health industries to explore digital trends and practices in animal health and management.

During the event, Rooda participated in a startup pitch competition along with four other startups and won first place.

In addition to participating in the pitch competition, Rooda also spoke on a panel titled, “The Digital Transformation of Animal Production.”

“The Digital Animal Summit is a great event for entrepreneurs and investors to learn more about how technology in animal production,” Rooda told Clay & Milk. “SwineTech is one of the very first startups within agtech and we were thrilled to have the opportunity to share our experiences within the pork industry.”

Founded in 2015, SwineTech uses artificial intelligence and sensor-based technologies to save pig’s lives. Last October, SwineTech raised $1.5 million to allow them to begin to expand their product into other states and countries.

Here are the five startups the participated in the pitch competition:

Accessible Diagnostics
Accessible Diagnostics is developing a novel, smartphone based, saliva glucose test system that is easy for pet owners to monitor their diabetic pets at home.

Cowlar, a fitbit for dairy cows, provides data as a service to help dairy producers optimize operations and improve herd health.

Pawprint is digitalizing pet medical records to increase the quality, convenience, and accuracy of pet care for owners.

Petronics makes MOUSR, a robot mouse toy designed to let indoor cats hunt the way they were meant to.

SwineTech uses artificial intelligence and sensor-based technologies to save pig’s lives.

Previous coverage

SwineTech accepted into Pearse Lyons Accelerator -Feb. 11, 2019

SwineTech raises $1.5 million -Oct. 23, 2018

SwineTech is using artificial intelligence to save piglets -Sept. 13, 2018

SwineTech wins first place at Digital Animal Summit 2019 | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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