Save the Piggies

Three years ago, Matthew Rooda walked into the barn of a massive pig farm where he worked to find eight piglets crushed to death by the sow. It’s a baffling behavior that costs the pork industry more than $6 billion annually. Rooda, now a recent graduate of the University of Iowa, refused to accept this as a “sunk cost,” so he created a wearable device that, in the simplest terms, combines the technology of a fitness tracker and a shock collar, alerting both farm staff and the sow when a piglet is being crushed.

Related: 5 Tips to Inspire an Innovative Mindset

Save the Piggies

Rooda won the U.S. National Competition of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in March, an event hosted by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. He also represented the U.S. at the GSEA in Frankfurt, Germany, in April. The international competition was ultimately won by Julián Ríos Cantú of Mexico.

Rooda’s company, SwineTech, has raised more than $1 million in sales and competition winnings, and plans to continue vigorous marketing now that he’s no longer balancing the roles of full-time CEO and student.

Crediting his success to relationships and mentoring, Rooda offers this advice to young entrepreneurs: “Don’t be closed-minded. There are so many people out there who want to help you. Listen and create relationships. You’re much more likely to succeed when you reach out, find the right people and allow them to help you.”

Save the Piggies

Related: Why Mentors Are Vital to Your Success


This article originally appeared in the August 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

Cecilia Meis
Cecilia Meis is a full-time writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas. Besides SUCCESS, her work has appeared in Time Out Dallas, Rewire, Healthline and others. Outside of work, she plays beach volleyball, attempts home cooking and is ardently working toward making her cat, Nola, Insta-famous.
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