Race to find $4,000 buried in Provo begins 06

Treasure Finders co-founders, from left, Bryce Byers, Len Wright, Abe Hochstetler and Daniel Taylor pose together for a portrait in Orem on Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

Treasure Finders started in Utah County, but the popularity and the success of the app has led its founders to send treasure hunters on an even bigger mission. The app recently launched a $50,000 hunt that includes both Salt Lake and Utah counties.

The move just about tripled the potential amount of people involved, with the treasure chest possibly being hidden in either county.

Another aspect of the hunt involves people visiting local businesses along the way, receiving a virtual copper coin with the Treasure Finders logo on it. Those virtual coins can then be exchanged at in-person events, with the real coins allowing people access to a prize wheel with various prizes.

Some of the slots on that prize wheel include special clues about where the treasure is hidden.

One of the app’s co-founders, Abe Hochstetler, said that there have been five other treasure hunts ranging in value from $3,000 to $4,000 which have brought people from all over to participate in the fun.

“We had our kickoff event at Larry H. Miller Ford over here in Provo and we had people from all over,” Hochstetler said of the beginning for the $50,000 hunt. “The thing that I’ve found really satisfying is how far away the people come from and the different variety of people. One of our taglines is, people from age 7 to 70 love a good treasure hunt and we’ve certainly seen that.”

The move into Salt Lake County, as well as Utah County, is a sign of growth for the app. Along with that growth, the expansion of the area where the treasure can be found opens up more possibilities.

Hochstetler said that while he’s been expecting the rapid growth, it also has been surprising for him, adding a bit of a challenge for the clue writer.

“It’s all about fun, so it’s probably more fun for me to be on this side of it and have people trying to figure out the clues that I create,” Hochstetler said. “People are smart, and I thought that I could trick people a little better, but boy I tell you, I really have to put my thinking cap on when I come up with these clues.”

He said that he was worried someone would find a $50,000 treasure chest in a single day, but he wants people to have to work for it which brings up some excitement for him.

Another rewarding aspect for Hochstetler has been hearing about people’s adventures as a result of the Treasure Finders app. People travel around areas they know well, but still find ways to locate places or things they may have never seen before.

When asked about what’s next for Treasure Finders, Hochstetler said that the group has been approached about franchising, but they are not ready to do so. He joked about thinking he was the only one who wanted to be a real-life pirate that searched for treasure.

With that being said, Treasure Finders is growing both in terms of the size of the treasure and the number of people playing the game.

Hochstetler then laughed and said, “I tell people we have great cash flow, and it’s all flowing out.”

To learn more about Treasure Finders, visit the group’s website at treasurefindersapp.com or download the app on the app store.