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Iowa JPEC launches new speaker series
Iowa JPEC is launching a new speaker series this spring that will feature successful entrepreneurs who have attended the University of Iowa. The series, titled Innovation and Inspiration Speaker Series, will kick off with an initial event next week featuring SwineTech founders Matthew Rooda and Abraham Espinoza. The event will take start at 5 p.m. on…
SwineTech raises $5 Million Series A round
SwineTech, an animal health startup based in Cedar Rapids, has completed a $5 million Series A round of financing. Innova Memphis led the investment round with participation from existing and new investors Johnsonville Ventures, Ag Ventures Alliance, Quake Capital, SVE Capital, The Berkeley Catalyst Fund along with several other angel investors and pork producers. The investment brings SwineTech’s total funding…
Two Iowans accepted into Future Founders Alumni Accelerator
Future Founders, a nonprofit organization focused on helping youth become entrepreneurs, announced the 36 entrepreneurs who will be part of the 2020 Future Founders National Fellowship Alumni Accelerator. Two Iowa founders—Matthew Rooda and Mikayla Sullivan—were accepted into the accelerator. Rooda, founder of Cedar Rapids-based SwineTech, participated in Future Founders' 2017 Fellowship program. Sullivan, CEO and…
SwineTech files paperwork showing $3.1 million raise
Cedar Rapids-based SwineTech filed paperwork last week indicating it has raised $3.1 million in funding. SwineTech’s award-winning product, SmartGuard, uses AI to read data through sensors and can locate exactly where a piglet is getting crushed and will alert the sow to roll over or stand up through the use of a vibratory signal. Since…
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…
SwineTech raises $1.5 million
SwineTech, an agtech company headquartered in Cedar Rapids, has raised $1.5 million which will allow them to begin to expand into other states and countries. Innova Memphis and Ag Ventures Alliance both participated in the round. SwineTech’s product, SmartGuard, prevents piglet deaths by using artificial intelligence to read data through sensors and locate exactly when and where a piglet…
SwineTech is using artificial intelligence to save piglets
Every year millions of piglet die from being accidentally crushed by their mothers. A Cedar Rapids based agtech startup is looking to change that. SwineTech is using sensor-based technologies to prevent piglet deaths. SwineTech’s award-winning product, SmartGuard, uses AI to read data through sensors and can locate exactly where a piglet is getting crushed and will alert the…
Iowa Agtech: ‘Building the right connections between the right people at the right time’
Iowa agriculture is now worth more than $15 billion according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For entrepreneurs and investors willing to look outside of Silicon Valley, Iowa's agricultural technology—often called "agtech"—ecosystem offers valuable and lucrative opportunities. With a top agriculturally-focused university producing talent and multiple accelerators helping entrepreneurs commercialize their ideas, early stage agtech companies are…
SwineTech Archives | 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 mpatane@clayandmilk.com.
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