Roots and Wings

From the Blog

With Roots in Pittsburgh, Fifth Season Climbs in Vertical Farming Space

Incorporating robotics and AI into its smart manufacturing design gave Fifth Season a competitive edge in the crowded vertical farming industry right from its inception as a company.

But so, too, did locating the farm in Pittsburgh, writes cofounder Austin Webb. The region’s abundance of talent and resources, as well as its lower cost of doing business, led to greater profitability.

As an added benefit, selling to local retailers means the company’s produce gets to consumers at peak freshness and nutritional value. So even as Fifth Season expands to other markets, its roots will remain in the Pittsburgh region, Webb says.

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Duolingo Celebrates 10th Anniversary with IPO, Expansion

For 10 years, Duolingo has been making the world more accessible by tearing down language barriers between people.

Considered one of the Pittsburgh region’s unicorns, the language-learning app marked its first decade with a $6.5 billion valuation in its initial public offering. It also signed a 13-year lease for a 38,000-square-foot space near Bakery Square.

Cofounder and CEO Luis von Ahn expressed pride in Duolingo’s use of AI to personalize lessons and improve user experience, as well as the launch of the Duolingo English test, which organizations worldwide are using to test for English proficiency.

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“It’s also important to highlight Pittsburgh as a leader in tech … we’re the robotics capital, but we’re also leaders in software, biotech and biomanufacturing and consumer internet. For a fast-growing startup, Pittsburgh is a great place to be … the concentration of tech talent, the intensive support for R&D and our affordability and livability. Pittsburgh offers venture investor innovation and growth, and value investor fundamentals and durability.”

Jake Loosararian, Founder and CEO at Gecko Robotics, a Pittsburgh-based startup, reacting to Pittsburgh’s being ranked as the 13th emerging global ecosystem by Startup Genome

Vertical farming startup credits region with rapid success