Entrepreneur Spotlight: Matthew Rooda

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Matthew Rooda

By Cally Reed, Program Associate, UNI Center for Business Growth and Innovation

SwineTech an Iowa-based company located in Cedar Rapids, is bridging the health knowledge gap between producers and pigs through sensor based technologies. Founder and CEO Matthew Rooda, has won several business pitch competitions and garnered investor attention from right here in Iowa and around the world.

The competitions and awards range from Iowa’s Dream Big Grow Here grant competition, the International Business Model Competition, being a finalist in the Cupid’s Cup, to earning first place in the Carnegie Mellon University Venture Challenge and receiving the Lemelson-MIT Undergraduate Student Prize.

Matthew is extremely good at telling the story of SwineTech. So we asked him to share a few thoughts about how he started out in the world of business competitions, as well as, anything that helped him win competitions along the way.


When you first started out, where did you go to find out about business competitions you could enter?

I found out about competitions at networking events, Googling “business competitions,” and on websites that host startup competitions.

Let’s say a brand new business owner found a pitch competition that’s happening next month. They decide to enter it. What is the first thing they should do to get ready for the event?

You should start by doing your research. First, study the judging criteria on the competition website. Read about the judges online. Check out past competition winners and watch the previous winners’ entry videos.

What is one thing you wish someone would have told you about competing in pitch competitions when you were starting out?

This is a show.  Whoever is watching the event, including the judges, are there because they want to be entertained. Make them feel like they are at a performance.

On the day of the event, do you have any routines you practice to get pumped up for the pitch before you start?

Yes. I listen to stand up comedy.

Do you have anything else you’d like to add about competing?

Each competition is worlds different from the last one.  So, if you go into the competition with the mindset that what you did last time will work this time, you’re going to lose.

Currently, Matthew and the team at SwineTech are working on market validation. It will be exciting to see where SwineTech will be in the upcoming year!

If you’re a first time entrepreneur, know that you can have success early on in the life of your business.  Remember to do your research, get in the right mindset, and then bring the audience a story when you take the stage. Take the first step, and enter to win a business competition. There maybe one happening near you.

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