Co-Founder of SwineTech Abraham Espinoza poses for a portrait at Swine Tech's Cedar Rapids office on Wednesday Dec. 6, 2017. Espinoza and University of Iowa classmate Matthew Rooda founded SwineTech while students at the university. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

Two local companies honored on Forbes’ 30 Under 30


SwineTech and HealthTech Solutions were honored on the Forbes 30 Under 30 2018 list.

By Brooklyn Draisey

Two companies with Hawkeye ties were recognized on one of the most important lists in the business world.

Forbes 30 under 30 released its 2018 encyclopedia of businesses that have affected the world, and two companies started by University of Iowa graduates and students, SwineTech and HealthTech Solutions, made the list. Six hundred businesses are chosen by Forbes each year out of thousands of applications.

SwineTech — Manufacturing and Industry

Matthew Rooda and Abraham Espinoza, cofounders of SwineTech, said they didn’t know they had been chosen for the list until the day of the announcement, Nov. 14.

“We thought it would just be a way to get our name in this year and hopefully get it in the next few,” Rooda said. “We really didn’t see this coming.”

Rooda came up with the idea for a device that lowers piglet death rates during his time working on a pig farm in 2013. This happened when a mother lay down and crushed all eight of her piglets. He came to Espinoza with his idea, and together they founded SwineTech in November 2015.

The product they now sell is what Rooda described similar to a baby monitor for pig pens. It monitors the pen 24/7 for noises of distress from the piglets, and if the people notified decide it’s necessary, they can send a signal to the wearable device on the mother to make her stand up. The device can also track pigs’ health and behavior in real time.

“The big push is to improve the welfare of all the pigs being raised, while at the same time improving sustainability,” he said.

Since its founding, SwineTech has made $100,000 in revenue, Rooda said.

“There’s been lots of ups and downs, way more than you would ever expect, but it’s definitely going well,” he said.

Now SwineTech is working on expanding the reach of its products to numerous farms, then becoming something of a swine-management company, Rooda said.

To SwineTech, getting on the list is just an indicator for them to work even harder, Espinoza said.

“To me, it’s really a milestone to work harder, because it’s us getting recognized for everything we’ve done so far, but it really pushes us to be better and get to the next level,” Espinoza said.

RELATED: Save the pigs buoys inventor

HealthTech Solutions — Health Care

HealthTech Solutions was created by Dalton Shaull and Eric Pahl in 2016 to help make the organ-procurement process easier and more efficient. Their messaging system, TXP Chat, allows physicians and all others involved to communicate safely and securely about complex processes such as organ referrals and transplantation.

The Daily Iowan tried to contact HealthTech Solutions, but received no response by press time.

Getting on Forbes 30 Under 30 also means getting the company’s name known.

Katherine Crosby, a junior in the Tippie College of Business, said the list puts companies such as SwineTech and HealthTech on the map, which will make them that much more successful.

“I think any recognition is good recognition, and this is a big deal as far as recognition goes,” Crosby said.

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