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"Beyond the Pets: Growing Chia Seeds in Bluegrass Country"

7-10-14: Chia, a plant in the mint family native to Central and South America, was long known in the U.S. almost exclusively for green-and-bushy Chia Pet products. But in recent years its seeds―sprinkled on cereal, perhaps, or blended into smoothies–have become hot among athletes and other health-conscious consumers. For four business-school students at the University of Louisville a few years ago, the growing popularity of chia looked like another kind of green. The quartet–Scott Serdoz, Zack Pennington, Jacy Cruz and Keith Starling–co-founded Kentucky Chia in 2011. Later renamed U.S. Chia... Read more

"Kentucky Chia becomes US Chia, starts fund-raising"

7-11-13: Kentucky Chia LLC, former winner of the Louisville-based Venture Connectors Venture Sharks competition, has assumed a new name, US Chia, and started to raise its first funds from investors.

The company, which grows chia seed primarily as a nutritional supplement for horse feed, began making pitches to potential investors last week... Read more

"Louisville Agripreneurs: Award-winning company KY Chia is now US Chia … and fundraising"

7-10-13: One of the most “decorated” startups in Louisville’s ecosystem has rebranded and is now fundraising in anticipation of getting product on the market this fall. KY Chia is now US Chia.

US Chia will grow and distribute US-grown chia seeds for equine nutritional needs. Chia seeds contain the greatest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids of any seed and twice as much fiber as wheat and oats... Read more

“Venture Connectors members hear from previous presenters”

07-12-12: Last year, a group of University of Louisville MBA students’ idea to grow chia seed sprouted into a company called Kentucky Chia, whose business plan won the 2011 Venture Sharks competition, along with $5,000. On Wednesday, one of those students, Zack Pennington, told the audience that Kentucky Chia used the winnings to buy a license for the technology it will use in its plan to sell chia to the equine industry as... Read more

"Might as well jump: Insider Louisville’s short list of our most intriguing new businesses"

7-9-12: Insider Louisville met with Kentucky Chia execs Zach Pennington and Joanna Cruz a few weeks ago and they are the real deal. Smart, management-obsessed MBAs from the University of Louisville with a product they have a near monopoly on – chia seeds. Not the Chia Pet gag gift... Read more

“Chia Seeds Move Beyond Faddish Past In Bid For Mainstream Acceptance”

04-16-12: Five years ago, the word "chia" made most Americans think of one thing: Chia Pets. The association lingers. But today, chia seeds are beginning to gain recognition as one of the world's healthiest foods. The seeds, which are completely tasteless, are high in protein and fiber and contain incredibly high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to protect function of the heart and other vital organs. The shelves of Whole Foods are brimming with chia-packed products… Read more

"Business titans of the future? Rice's biz plan showdown"

Also worth watching is Kentucky Chia from the University of Louisville. The school took home the top prize last year with TNG Pharmaceuticals, a company pursuing a vaccine to protect cattle from horn flies. This year’s team aims to combat premature death in horses by feeding them chia seeds. It’s an ancient solution, the group says, but their patent-pending technology — which allows the seeds to be grown domestically — could be a game changer... Read more

“Seeds of potential: Kentucky Chia takes top awards in Ballard Morton New Venture Competition”

10-20-11: Do you “chia?” Judges at the 15th annual Ballard Morton New Venture Competition think you might.  They awarded first prize and $13,000 to a new business that wants to make chia seeds Kentucky’s newest—and potentially biggest—cash crop. “We’re not talking about ‘chia pets’ here,” Zack Pennington, president of Kentucky Chia, assured the judges. “It’s the same plant but a very different concept.” Chia seeds, according to the four UofL Entrepreneurship MBA students who created the new company, are an ancient superfood poised to be the next generation breakthrough in… Read more

"Idea for growing chia wows judges at Venture Sharks competition"

5-6-11: Some University of Louisville MBA students’ idea to grow chia seed in Kentucky sprouted into a win Wednesday in the Venture Club of Louisville’s second annual Venture Sharks competition. Kentucky Chia bested four other aspiring entrepreneurs and took home the $5,000 prize during the club’s monthly luncheon at the Galt House Hotel. The groups competed to present the best business plan for a four-person panel of “sharks” who served as judges... Read more

“UofL entrepreneurship students top state-wide competition with $60,000 in prizes at Idea State U”

4-26-11: Students and faculty from the University of Louisville Forcht Center for Entrepreneurship won seven awards totaling more than $60,000, including a sweep of top awards in the graduate category, at the 2011 Idea State U competition April 22-23 in Lexington. Three of the four UofL teams took first place in their division, with the fourth earning a second place. The annual business plan and business concept competition for Kentucky’s public universities is sponsored by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. It offers $100,000 in prizes, making it one of the largest state-wide competitions in the nation. The competition emphasizes business concepts and plans that are most likely to result in successful… Read more