The Boulder Hu$tle: How to Make $20K in 24 Hours

Sharing the Checks!

The Boulder Hustle — 24 hours. Eighteen Bolders divided into four teams. Which team can raise the most money in 24 hours? The winning team gets to keep all of their earnings as well as half the earnings of the three other teams.

The expectation was that the winning team, if truly ambitious and creative, might earn around $3,000.

The winning team raked in a whopping $20,050.

The Story

At 10:00pm on Wednesday, the Bold Manor buzzed with energy. The four teams had returned from their 24-hour adventures and were congregated in different corners of the house, preparing to present The Bold Academy community with a story of their earnings.

Several teams offered services or entertainment to earn money, such as playing music, dancing, sweeping the floors of bars, shelling out life advice, and computer programming.

Bolders Abbey Lamm, Tony Amoyal, Max Fram-Schwartz, and Ryan Knapp spent the morning strategizing and then decided to stop approaching the day so seriously.

“The best part of our experience was when we clarified what our intention was: To go out there and have fun. That’s when we started connecting with the people in Boulder.” – Abbey Lamm

Tony Amoyal is a musician and web and mobile developer, and his skills came in handy.
“I was playing guitar on a bench with my team and perusing Craig’s List ads to move couches for money. Suddenly, I heard a guy say to some of my teammates, ‘Does anyone know how to program with PHP?’ And I said, ‘I know PHP, but I haven’t used it in a few years.’” – Tony Amoyal

Within a few minutes, the guy brought Tony to his startup office and introduced him to the company’s whole team. Tony made friends with everyone, talked with the CEO about music for an hour and a half, and then got down to coding

“By the end of the day, I implemented a high value feature in their email marketing software which went live immediately, got offered future work, and received an introduction to a high profile angel investor active in the same space as my startup company.” – Tony Amoyal
Tony Amoyal and his team earned close to $900 that day.

The Winning Team

Bolders Kyle Robertson, Philip Taylor, Whitney Flight, and Danial Malik started their 24-hour adventure with the plan to throw a party and offer services in wealthy neighborhoods of Boulder.

“But then we had an epiphany: That we were competing and that the competition itself had the potential to earn a lot of money. On a direct skill comparison, we couldn’t match the other teams’ earning potential.” – Kyle Robertson

In the morning of the competition, Kyle Robertson and Philip Taylor walked into Trident Cafe on Pearl Street and noticed a man who looked very techy. Kyle asked the man, “Do you work in technology or venture capital?”

This struck up a conversation around the Boulder Hustle. The man, named Aaron Hirsh, happened to be a venture capitalist, and he gave Kyle tips on who to speak with in the Boulder community. Aaron gave his number to Kyle and told him, “Call me later in the afternoon.”

Kyle and his team traveled around Boulder visiting venture capital firms, and found that each connection that they made enabled them to speak with someone else. They went to Tech Stars, Foundry Group, a variety of tech companies in the Randolph Center, Napkin Labs, and more.

“Whenever our pitch didn’t work, we asked for real-time feedback on how we could improve our pitch. So we refined our approach with every conversation.” – Kyle Robertson

The people at Napkin Labs said, “We will give you a check if you find funding elsewhere first.”

So that’s what they did. After a lunch and some planning, Whitney, Danial, Phil, and Kyle printed out a contract and went to Boulder Lending Group. They explained that they needed a large enough sum of money to trump the other teams’ earnings and that they would return the money if they won. They walked out of Boulder Lending Group with a $10,000 check.

“When I had the first $10,000 check in my hand, I felt like I was on Cloud Nine. I was beaming and the adrenaline rush was insane. My cheek muscles were hurting from smiling so intensely. It was totally surreal. Up until that point everything felt like an idea. When we got that check, everything became tangible.” – Phil Taylor

That first check was the credibility they needed. Napkin Labs gave them $50 when they returned to the office with their Boulder Lending Group check.

“So then I called Aaron Hirsh, who we met at Trident Cafe, and told him that we had two investors and $10,050. He called me back and said, ‘You’ve done well. I’ll write you another check if you need it, but you’ll have to come over to my place, and it’s kind of far.’” – Kyle Robertson

They took a taxi to Aaron Hirsh’s place using their $50 seed capital. They knocked on his door and he wrote them another $10,000 check. He told them, “Promise me that if any of you four ever have a venture in the next five years that you will give me a right of first option to invest in your ventures.”

After Danial, Phil, Whitney, and Kyle shared their story with The Bold Academy community Wednesday night, the house erupted with cheers and hugs, celebrating a badass, creative way of winning a 24-hour game.

Story and photos by Cloe Shasha.


  • David Robertson July 21, 2012 at 11:30 PM Reply

    Brilliant!!! That’s my boy!!!

  • Dana Lamm July 22, 2012 at 5:07 AM Reply

    So inspiring!!! That’s my girl!

  • COLINE Bettson July 22, 2012 at 12:09 PM Reply

    Kyle, dear,

    When we met, I absolutely KNEW how outstanding you were. The only thing was, you were so young . . . Now ? Phenominal opportunity awaits YOU.

    It is certain.


  • Matt July 22, 2012 at 11:56 PM Reply

    Jackpot hit in a real way. Awesome job with the creativity. The Apprentice has nothing on “The Bold Academy”.

  • James Lopez July 25, 2012 at 6:47 PM Reply

    Such a great story! The creativity really stands out and you were able to network with a VC. It was a win all around for the whole group

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