VentureLab Growth Partners looks like another incubator, but the startup studio promises to offer a more hands-on approach than traditional programs.

Incubators, accelerators and funds often set limits on class size, revenue models and focused topics, all while holding their startups to a highly rigorous schedule. The studio model offered by VentureLab, on the other hand, is different, according to Partner Mike Prasad.

“A startup studio model is more opportunistic and strategic,” he said. “We have the ability to deploy capital into our resources and in startups themselves.”

VentureLab wants to launch two topic-specific clusters a year that are filled with pre-seed investments. Early-stage startups valued between $500,000 and a few million dollars are ideal. VentureLab will invest between $25,000 and $50,000 in each startup, taking an equity stake of between 5 percent and 20 percent. How much they invest will depend on the company and its needs, Prasad said.

The studio is funded by a family office of Daniel Shaffer, also a partner. VentureLab launched with a four-company cluster that is focusing on native advertising. Clusters of two to five startups in digital health and app-driven commerce are planned for next year.

There is no application process. VentureLab plans to identify up-and-coming startups through its own network and talent relationships. And like recently launched Santa Monica studio Zuma Ventures and longtime veteran Idealab in Pasadena, startups could grow in-house with just an idea.

VentureLab is based in the Hollywood Hills with an office in San Francisco. It plans to move to Pasadena next year.

Staff reporter Melissah Yang can be reached at MYang@labusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @MelissahYang for the latest in L.A. tech news.

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