California is rich with scenic adventure. Standing in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, you're roughly 30 minutes from the barrel of an ocean wave, a one hour flight from your skis hitting fresh powder on the Sierra Mountains, two hours from rock climbing the infamous boulders in Joshua Tree National Park, and three hours from the borders of Mexico. While outdoor adventure is one of our state's specialties, so is the indoor adventure of business entrepreneurship. The tech hub of Silicon Valley, the Port of Los Angeles packed with miles of shipping containers from overseas, and the industry and manufacturing in Los Angeles make California one of the most resourceful and opportunistic states to live in for the aspiring business owner.

We couldn't have chosen a better state to be the birthplace for the Five Pawns flavor company because only the best of the best can rise to the top here. As an example of the type of innovative spirit thriving in California, we've assembled a small list of amazing people you should know who are trying to do incredible things in business. We celebrate all things exceptional here at Five Pawns and salute those who work hard to create remarkable things.


Mira Reality: Affordable Virtual Reality Experiences on Your Smart Phone - Los Angeles

Virtual reality headsets are heralded as the tech of the future and have the price point to match. At a $1,000 minimum, you can get started with a great basic setup, but it's out of reach for most. Enter Ben Taft, Matt Stern, and Montana Reed, three guys who wanted the incredible to be accessible by the masses. They designed a headset that your smart phone plugs into, delivering augmented reality and serving up everything from educational tools to games. The Mira Prism is accessible to developers, allowing anyone with a little coding knowledge and a purpose to create their own virtual reality options. According to the website, Mira’s Unity-based SDK will be available for download in August, giving creators the ability to fashion custom experiences and add premium features to existing apps. The price point for consumers? A mere $99. 





The Water Garden: Eco Food & Self-Cleaning Fish Tank in One - San Francisco 

If we can summarize a few things most Californians love, it's sustainably-grown food, enjoying their pets, and finding the easiest and most efficient way possible to accomplish both. Thanks to Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora, two college students who turned their frat house kitchen into a science experiment back in 2009, sustainably-grown herbs and vegetables can be grown right on the kitchen counter alongside Bubbles the Fish. In a miniaturized version of aquaponics, the fish tank below houses the fish waste that feeds the plants, and the plants above feed the fish. This is basically the easiest way to grow an organic garden on your countertop and keep Bubbles alive, as both goals require nearly zero effort. Perfect for college students, busy professionals, and anyone without a green thumb.





Stasis Labs: Powerful Patient Monitoring from a Tablet - Los Angeles

What happens when a doctor's regular patient rounds aren't enough? Most doctors can only check in on their patients once every six hours, and because of the high cost of patient monitoring devices, many of their patients are left without even a basic vitals monitor. Co-founder of Stasis Labs and USC grad, Dinesh Seemakurty, lost someone near and dear due to this nightmarish medical insufficiency. That loss sparked Dinesh's and Michael Maylahn's California do-good mentalities to remedy the issue - and remedy they have. The answer comes in the form of a cloud-connected tablet any doctor can carry, delivering the vital signs and alerts for patients using the Stasis Labs monitoring system in real time. Cedars-Sinai hospital in LA backs their system, which doesn't even need Wi-Fi to operate at its full, life-saving capacity.






Colchester Rubber Company: The Original Converse Sneakers - Vista

It was 1892, and a new game called basketball needed a special shoe to support players' swift, dodgy moves. Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, placed an order with the Colchester Rubber Company for a pair of shoes to put to test for the game. Before he had a chance to order more shoes, Colchester went belly-up. It wasn’t until December of 2004 when this sample pair of shoes was discovered in the back of a closet in Vista, CA. They were surrounded by other Victorian-era clothing relics. A whirlwind of research later, Gary Pifer, founder of the new Colchester Rubber Company and who discovered the sample shoes, re-launched the concept and design that pre-dated Converse All-Stars by at least 25 years. This discovery brought back an era of basketball history. Support the Kickstarter campaign and purchase your original kicks here. Fun fact: Gary purchased the shoes for a mere 50 cents.






Score a Score: Freelance Musicians {Finally} Get Served - Los Angeles

Technology has placed movie-making abilities in the hands of every smartphone bearer. That capability bred an insatiable hunger for fresh tunes to accompany the film's track. Jordan Passman, founder and LA native, saw the chance to connect money-starved musicians and the aspiring videographers of the world to create a symbiotic relationship, and Scoreascore.com was born. Anyone who needs a quick tune can log on and tell them what they need, and then work with a meticulous pool of composers and musicians to craft the ideal melody. Talented musicians get creative, more YouTube videos with fresh beats go viral, and everyone is happy.





Heard of any other intriguing and innovative California-based entrepreneurs? Share them with us on our social channels so we can feature them on future posts!