In a city that relies on a good buzz to keep up with work, workouts and fun, local entrepreneur Dan Medvene isn’t against the grind. He just wants to repackage it.

In his view, it’s not the caffeine’s fault that there is a limit to how much coffee one Santa Monica resident can down in a day.

“I love coffee but after the second cup, I started getting this acidic feeling,” Medvene explained from his office on Main Street. “I needed something else.”

He certainly seems to be in good company.

Those looking for an extra jolt beyond the first pot of coffee don’t have much trouble getting their fix these days. Despite health concerns surrounding energy drinks, the business is booming – reaching nearly $40 billion dollars worldwide in 2013. Some forecasters say it could reach $60 billion by 2021.

Energy drinks sell a feeling – a fact usually reflected in over-the-top names like Red Bull, Monster, Full Throttle and RockStar.

Medvene thinks he’s come up with a product that can go head to head with all of them: the Quantum Square.

Instead of a feeling, the advertising and marketing for Quantum Squares sells the local lifestyle. On the website Venice Beach lifeguards and trainers sweat in the sand, palm trees waving in the background.

“The main messaging for our product is that we want people to move whether it’s getting off their sofa or running or the stairs or surfing,” Medvene said. The former college tennis player says he got the idea for the product while working out. He decided to join the crowded mix of products offering the workout Holy Grail: satiety plus an energy rush minus the crash.

Instead of heading into the kitchen, Medvene got on the phone and consulted with Venice-based registered dietitian and nutrition consultant LeeAnn Smith Weintraub. She helped formulate the right balance of micro and macro nutrients into one bar about the size of a coaster. Then Medvene went to a food scientist for the recipe.

The result – a bar with a hefty list of ingredients you won’t find in a can of Red Bull: rolled oats, quinoa seeds, chia seeds, dried cherries and amaranth grain (in addition to the coffee, of course).

Compared to a cup of coffee the squares are, well, a little dry.

The company is small, with six employees working in the Santa Monica office. Medvene is selling the squares online and you can also find them in some local health food stores. A Santa Monica resident for the last five years, Medvene is betting his new product will be a hit with the gluten free – dairy free – soy free – non GMO crowd.

And while the bars ship nationally, one percent of the profits go to local charities. Right now, the company is raising up to $25,000 for Heal the Bay. The website calls it “energy for good.”


Kate Cagle

Senior reporter for the Santa Monica Daily Press