It's a very effective way of protecting themselves from downside risk -- if all the startups bomb, the startup founder have nothing and the investors have nothing, but Bootup Labs still has their $50k/startup -- which might be part of the reason why they've had trouble convincing VCs to invest. I think many VCs would be skeptical of a startup CEO who said "we have no revenue and a completely untested business model, but we're going to pay ourselves $100k salaries with your money".
Either sell me a service or give me cash for equity. Don't do both.
It's weirder here due to the small scale of investment relative to the costs, and the non-cash services, but not totally implausible.
My impression from reading all of this is that Bootup Labs is a scam. At best, they have a significant conflict of interest at the heart of their business model.
Now if Statusly was only in the program for 2 out of the 8 months, then it seems like the founders could be owed around $35k (50k2/8.95) for the money that they paid to be in the program for the rest of the 6 months.