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Fifth Season is one of several promising startups in the indoor farming space and one that’s particularly sophisticated in its use of robotics and artificial intelligence to make food production more sustainable. The Pittsburgh-headquartered company farms “vertically,” which enables its farms to take up less space. Its automated systems, meanwhile, limit human contact so the produce has less chance of being contaminated. Fifth Season’s farms mimic the seasons, exerting control over humidity and light intensity in ways traditional farming cannot. Overall, the company says it uses 97% less land than it would take to grow the same amount of food using traditional methods, and only 5% as much water, with no risk of fertilizer runoff.

Fifth Season also aims to be “farm to table” and hyper-local. It has partnered with restaurants, grocers, and supermarkets in and around Pittsburgh and Columbus to distribute ready-made salads and fresh greens. The company reported in February that it was on track to grow 500,000 pounds of produce within its first year.

Company information

Austin Webb
No. of employees
Fewer than 100
Drive Capital, Alleghenies Angel Fund, Westway Capital, Growth Technology Partners, Reinforced Ventures, Tao Capital Partners, additional investors connected to Carnegie Mellon University
Web address