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What do the medical field and pig farming have in common? More than you might think, according to SwineTech co-founders Matthew Rooda and Abraham Espinoza. SwineTech is a global agtech software company that uses artificial intelligence to aid pork producers in managing their day-to-day operations. The software also uses sensor technologies to prevent piglet deaths due to crushing by their sows, a big problem for pig farmers. Mr. Rooda, CEO of SwineTech who hails from a multigenerational line of pork producers, said his tenure as a premed student and a nurse/medication aide in a retirement home helped him see many similarities between healthcare and animal agriculture. “In trying to move away from the farm to try and go into medicine, medicine actually pushed me back into the farm,” Mr. Rooda said. When his school, the University of Iowa, sent out an email announcing a grant for students with an innovative business concept, Mr. Rooda attended out of curiosity–and an idea started percolating from there. Why not invent a sensor that keeps sows from rolling onto their piglets? An estimated 15% of preweaned piglets die each year, most occuring within the first three days after birth, which can add up to millions of dollars of lost revenue. Mr. Rooda called his roommate, computer science major Abraham Espinoza, and said they “needed to talk.” “He kind of thought that I broke something in the apartment, or something,” Mr. Rooda said.