The Collaborative Lab provides high-tech production space for in-person and livestreamed events


Three Grand Rapids-area entrepreneurs have launched a new high-tech production space to meet the digital needs of area businesses.

The LLC Collaborative Lablocated at 943 W. River Center Drive NE in Comstock Park, held a soft opening last year but will open to the general public on June 1. The open house will provide a closer look at the 10,000 square foot space that features state-of-the-art technology.

The facility is designed for businesses to host in-person events for up to 200 people, but it also offers the production capabilities to stream events online.

Co-owner Andy Holtgrieve said businesses are finding additional uses for the space.

“It certainly started as an event. … We work with companies that want to take their brand and their message and share it with people,” said Holtgrieve, director of sales and marketing consultancy B Local LLC, and one of the co-owners of The Collaborative Lab. .

“What I will say has been a very interesting transformation recently over the past year, it’s not just about giving people the opportunity to do events, but it’s really an opportunity for people to create content for content marketing. It doesn’t even have to be live,” he said.

Holtgrieve is also the lead singer of longtime Grand Rapid-based rock band Domestic Problems, which burst into the new production space with a fundraiser for a live gig during the pandemic.

Brad Dunnum and Brent Hawkins joined Holtgrieve to create The Collaborative Lab. Dunnum owns Comstock Park ARIA Show Technology and Service LLC and developed the concept when the pandemic hit and wiped out live events. He started by equipping his own warehouse with production equipment to test the concept.

Hawkins specializes in data analysis. With the trio’s varied disciplines, the group hopes to work with its clients to create and deliver a message, then generate insights to measure its performance.

“Each organization will be different and will have different resources,” Holtgrieve said. “Some have a 20-person marketing team, others have a one-person marketing team. Some of them work with an outside agency and some don’t. We have a strong talent network at almost every level that we can rely on to meet the needs of the organization.

So far, the team has invested $1 million in the space, which includes an approximately 6,500 square foot main studio with 4K cameras, studio lighting, teleprompter technology and a capable LED wall. display images and videos.

“I’m sure there are other production companies that have responded in different ways, but none have built a facility that’s fit for purpose, whether it’s a live event or the creation of content,” Holtgrieve said.

It also seems like the time is right for such an installation. As the pandemic emerges, more and more companies are investing in digital means of disseminating information.

A 2020 report from social media website LinkedIn showed that 67% of marketers increased their investment in webinars. A more recent study by video platform Vimeo LLC found similar results. Among respondents to a 2022 survey, 72% plan to continue attending the same number of online events or more, even when in-person events return in full force.

During its pilot phase, The Collaborative Lab hosted in companies that included digital consultants soundnon-profit organisation Y womenand terryberrywhich specializes in employee recognition products and programs.

“Two things I hear most often from (companies) are that (the collaborative lab) has created a lot of efficiencies that they weren’t necessarily able to achieve when they were doing big in-person events, and it created a ton of inclusivity for them,” Holtgrieve said.

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