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Stealth green chemistry start-up Segetis nabs ex-Dow exec

Tiny green-tech start-ups are attracting industry veterans. The latest is green chemistry company Segetis, which appears to have hired bio-products expert Jim Stoppert.

Segetis, a Minnesota-based green chemistry start-up, appears to have hired Jim Stoppert, a former Cargill and Dow executive with expertise in industrial bio-products.

Segetis is a green chemistry company, which received $15 million in funding from Khosla Venture last year.

It intends to use agricultural feedstocks to make products typically made from petroleum, such as plastics, solvents, and other specialty chemicals. But apart from a little bit of information about planned "sustainable chemistry solutions" on its Web site, the company has been quiet about its plans.

Stoppert worked at chemicals giant Dow and at Cargill as its director of industrial bioproducts. He was the CEO of a joint venture now called NatureWorks, which commercialized PLA (polylactide polymer), a corn-based plastic replacement used for containers, toys, and the like.

The Segetis Web site lists Khosla Ventures' chief scientific officer Doug Cameron as interim CEO, and founder and chief scientist, Sergey Selifonov, as its president.

But Stoppert is scheduled to represent the company at an industry conference, the Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy, next month.

One industry source said Stoppert will be the CEO of Segetis. Neither Segetis nor Khosla Ventures has replied to requests to confirm Stoppert's hiring.

Like the heady days of the dot-com boom, a number of executives from incumbent energy and chemical firms are making the move to small green-tech companies with promising technologies.

In a recent example, Tesla Motors hired a 24-year Chrysler executive, Mike Donoughe, as executive vice president of vehicle engineering and manufacturing.