Olga Selifonova And Sergey Selifonov

CEO (Selifonova); president and chief technology officer (Selifonov), Reluceo
Olga Selifonova And Sergey Selifonov

• Cultivating a Minnesota green-chemistry sector

Fossil fuel–based chemicals are just that for Olga Selifonova and Sergey Selifonov—fossils. “Through the history of human civilization, all sustainable wealth on Earth was created by agriculture and forestry,” Selifonova says. Along with her husband, Sergey, also a scientist and entrepreneur, she has founded four green chemistry companies in Minnesota.

In their current businesses, Reluceo and XLTerra (both headquartered in Golden Valley), the Selifonovs are developing technologies to create bioplastics and other bio-based chemicals and materials from wood and plant biomass sources (but not food sources). The Selifonovs’ chief funder is Silicon Valley–based cleantech and IT investment firm Khosla Ventures.

They also founded Segetis, a Golden Valley company that is commercializing new lines of cleaning products and bio-derived plasticizers. In February, Segetis announced a partnership with California-based Method Products to produce new cleaning agents.

The couple’s goals, Selifonova says, include “establishing the bio-based capital of the world in the Twin Cities.”