Meet the Founders: Avocado Seed Snack

Every year, a staggering 300 tonnes of avocado seeds are discarded into landfills in New Zealand, solely from the operations of the top four avocado oil producers. 

Meet the founders Rothman Kam and Chris Hill, the visionary minds behind a groundbreaking solution, Avocado Seed Snack. They're working hard to transform these overlooked avocado byproducts into delicious baked snacks, effectively combating waste and promoting sustainability in the process. 

Not only does their innovative approach address a pressing environmental issue but also introduces a flavourful and nutritious alternative to traditional snacks. The nutrient-rich avocado seed is full of dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. 

One of the 12 ventures taking part in the first Sprout Accelerator Autumn24 Cohort, Rothman and Chris hope to refine their pitching skills and tap into Sprout's food marketing networks. 

"We were drawn to Sprout Accelerator because it's a large, established incubator specialising in the food and agriculture space. It's exactly what we need for this product."

This perfect combination will help this team understand their market and the industry they serve. 

Rothman is a senior lecturer at AUT who specialises in transforming food waste into a higher-value product. He completed his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and his undergraduate studies in Chemical and Materials Engineering. His research interests have focused on food processing and food waste valorisation. 

Chris is a mechanical engineer who has spent many years leading multinational product development teams. He recently undertook a career change and now heads the commercialisation team at AUT Ventures. 

The two met at an AUT open day, where Rothman was showcasing his latest prototypes, including the baked Avocado Seed Snack. Chris's enthusiasm for this product and what it could do for the industry was contagious. Soon the two were working together, dreaming of ways they could bring this product to market. 

Currently, the two are working together in prototype development, determined to perfect the taste of their Avocado Seed Snack. 

"It doesn't matter how healthy they are. If it doesn't taste great, it won't sell. So we have a saying that consumers will buy the first bag because it's interesting and the second bag because it tastes delicious. It's our goal to make it so delicious they keep coming back for more," Chris says.

Chris was most proud when he finally bought the first bag home to share with the family on a Friday night. It made the snack feel real. 

Rothman admires anyone willing to enter the business because it involves so much work. "The more I learn, the more I realise they must wear so many hats. It's crazy. So I think any successful entrepreneur is a superhero."

About Sprout: Sprout Agritech LP is an early-stage investor specialising in transformational technologies that impact how life on Earth is nourished and sustained. Through their Sprout Accelerator, they have helped grow more than 110 early-stage ventures within the agri and food industries, which have collectively gone on to raise over $60m in capital.