Startup Studios

Pioneering a Bespoke Venture Studio Model

An excerpt from the GSSN boot camp session on the lifecycle of studio companies

An excerpt from the GSSN boot camp session on the lifecycle of studio companies

by: Steve Hayton|

May 25, 2023

Estimated Reading Time:
Articles | Startup Studios | Pioneering a Bespoke Venture Studio Model

In a recent GSSN boot camp session, Oliver Libby, co-founder of H/L Ventures, shared insights into his venture studio’s unique approach to working with startups at the intersection of growth, impact, and diversity.

H/L Ventures deploys daily active engagement, resources, and access to capital to support its portfolio companies, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and a diverse team.

The structure of H/L Ventures features bespoke studio deals, averaging 8.2% ownership, which can range from 5-20%. Their approach focuses on long-term relationships with startups, offering support through introductions, resources, services, and strategic guidance. This support has no “graduation” date, and H/L stays deeply engaged with its portfolio companies throughout their entrepreneurship journeys.

Libby highlighted the importance of active engagement and collaboration in venture studios. Libby connected the venture studio model to the Moneyball concept from sports. H/L Ventures seeks a meaningful return but is not tying itself to chasing unicorn startups. The studio leverages a network of over 100 senior advisors, venture partners, experts, residents, and members, properly motivating and compensating each member according to their role in the firm’s strategy. This broad network enables them to maintain close contact with their portfolio companies, providing tailored support throughout each stage of growth.

H/L Ventures generally receives common stock options or warrants instead of preferred shares, maintaining alignment between the studio and the start-up founders. They also invest an additional $100,000 in financing in market seed rounds, keeping a strong position in the companies backed, while its CityRock opportunity fund group is able to make more sizable follow-on investments in the Series A and B rounds.

The bespoke venture studio model developed by H/L Ventures is a tailored solution for supporting startups and navigating the complex world of entrepreneurship. With a focus on long-term partnerships, active engagement, and diverse teams, the studio is proving to be a game-changer in startup support and investment.


Info Packet
Our Next Cohort Begins June, 2023

Join our 8-week immersion program for new studios. Download an information packet on the boot camp to learn about the modules and get pricing information based on membership status.

Hatzimemos / Libby Holdings (H/L Ventures) combines venture studio, investment, and platform strategies into a complete company-building ecosystem. Since 2009, H/L Ventures has been an early pioneer of the venture studio model, and over the past thirteen years, the H/L team has co-built over forty companies at the nexus of growth, impact, and diversity.

H/L Ventures is recognized as the top impact investor in New York and one of the leading impact venture firms in the United States. Every one of H/L Ventures’ portfolio companies makes a strong case for high-growth potential while protecting and promoting people and the planet. H/L Ventures believes its companies produce greater returns when they include diverse backgrounds in underrepresented minority groups – whether by gender, ethnicity, economic situation, LGBTQ+, military service, or age. More than 70% of the firm’s investments are in underrepresented founding teams, and the H/L core team is one of the most diverse in venture capital. Currently, more than 90% of every dollar invested by H/L Ventures has gone to underrepresented founders, and each company has a strong impact thesis.

H/L, via its industry-leading platform, deploys its proprietary Daily Active Engagement model. This approach is a core tenet of the firm’s mission, leveraging a team of about forty core staff, advisors, and venture partners; a trusted partner network, select managed services; and more. This combines the supportive, hands-on approach of venture studios, the market insights of strategic advisors, and the capital of investment firms to facilitate early stage companies to reach their full potential.

In 2019, H/L introduced its CityRock Venture Partners opportunity fund, focused on Series A and B, in order to support its growing H/L Studio companies and invest in other similar start-ups across the market. H/L Ventures works with companies all across the United States and is industry agnostic, other than its commitment to growth, impact, and diversity.


Environmental, Social Impact


, New York City, New York