The Collaborative Lab opens in Comstock Park

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During its pilot phase, the Collaborative Lab hosted companies such as Grand Rapids-based data company OST. Courtesy The Collaborative Lab

West Michigan businesses and content creators have a new studio available to use for events and the creation of videos, photos and podcasts.

Local entrepreneurs Brad Dunnum, Andy Holtgrieve and Brent Hawkins recently invested $1 million to establish The Collaborative Lab, at 943 W. River Center Drive NE in Comstock Park, the partners said last week.

The space is designed as a high-quality production venue and offers a stage, greenroom, technology and expert staff to guide clients. It can accommodate up to 200 guests in person, along with an unlimited amount of people virtually, and it provides audience insights and analytics.

The Collaborative Lab features Studio A, which has a 42- by 13.5-foot LED wall capable of displaying 8K resolution; a 40- by 12-foot stage, with teleprompting and confidence monitors; three 4K cameras; eight content laptops; four streaming encoders; LED studio lighting; eight wireless microphones; and full audio control.

Other spaces include a touchdown room, which serves as office space for staff during production; greenroom, which doubles as a smaller Studio B; and lounge area for refreshments.

“The Collaborative Lab is designed so that you don’t have to think about technical issues of your event and instead can focus on connecting with your stakeholders and delivering your message,” Holtgrieve said. “We’re set up to make your events and content creation easier for you.”

During a pilot phase, the company hosted companies including Terryberry, OST, YWCA, Bluewater Technologies, KBO Group, HealthBridge, Reagan Marketing, CAT Footwear and Captus Creative.

When the pandemic began in 2020, most live events were canceled, so Dunnum, who is the production manager and co-owner, quickly pivoted and turned his warehouse into a streaming studio.

The first event was a charity concert by West Michigan rock band Domestic Problems. The event showcased what could be done virtually, and in just 12 days, successfully raised $10,000 from 300 live viewers. The event connected Dunnum with Holtgrieve, lead singer of the band.

He asked Holtgrieve to share the concept with other companies — showing organizations that they can still engage their audiences virtually. Holtgrieve then met Hawkins, who owns the marketing analytics company TR Data Strategy, and they formed the idea to add data insights to the budding business.

By March 2021, the three had teamed up to create The Collaborative Lab — an environment where people can create dynamic content and integrated experiences. Dunnum uses his 25 years of live event experience as the production lead, Hawkins provides data analysis, and Holtgrieve runs operations and sales.

More information on the business is at thecollaborativelab.com.

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