A Glasgow-based AgriTech startup has appointed industry veteran Paula Pinto as chief strategy officer to head up its US operations that will be based in North Carolina.

The appointment by SOLASTA Bio comes just months after they secured £4m in investment.

SOLASTA Bio specialise in the next generation of green insecticides and Pinto will be responsible for defining the company’s global go-to-market strategy, developing corporate alliances and collaborating with chief business officer Daphne Preuss – another new executive appointment to the team – in negotiating those alliances.

A chemical engineer by training, Pinto is recognised as a global leader and non-executive director with more than five years of board experience amidst a 25-year international career in marketing and operational roles for multi-billion dollar enterprises in specialty chemicals and agricultural solutions industries.

With almost four years in leadership roles at UPL, she positioned the company as a global leader in sustainable agricultural solutions and embedded new levels of capability across critical areas of the business.

Prior to this, she spent nearly a decade with Arysta LifeScience in global marketing, portfolio management, and strategic alliances roles, and subsequently co-headed its integration with UPL, creating the world’s fifth largest crop protection company.

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Preuss is an experienced entrepreneur focused on bringing genetic and biotechnology innovations to agriculture.

For the past four years, her firm, Catalytical, has supported the CEOs of several innovative companies to help channel their vision, passion and energy into commercial, rapidly growing, efficient operations.

She previously founded, built, and served for 11 years as president and CEO for Chromatin Inc.

The appointments of Pinto and Preuss underline the company’s commitment to gender diversity across its leadership team, with three out of four board positions occupied by women and three out of seven leadership positions.

Based in Glasgow, SOLASTA Bio is led by co-founding management team CEO Shireen Davies, chief scientific officer Professor Julian Dow and former BASF senior executive Dr Paul Bernasconi.

The company currently employs a team of 20 R&D, commercial staff and consultants, having added 12 new people over the past six months.

CEO Shireen Davies said: “These appointments are a real coup for SOLASTA Bio and represent a major step forward in its growth plans.

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“Both Paula and Daphne will play a key role in helping us to forge the right partnerships with the right corporations, allowing us to achieve our ambitions of commercialising in four-five years’ time.

“Their knowledge of the US market, in particular, will be of great benefit as we look to step up our stateside operations in the coming months.”