CHICAGO — Two-plus years after launch, Spool Marketing and Communications has bought a piece of a $31 million venture capital fund, in a move meant to bolster access to insights as well as drive revenue.

Chicago-based Spool invested its money in Silicon Road Ventures, an Atlanta VC firm that supports US-based tech startups in e-commerce, retail, and CPG. Though Spool wouldn’t discuss financial details, the firm did note that it made the investment three years ahead of schedule, made doable by new business from nine new clients since the start of the year.

Spool founder and CEO Catherine Merritt said being an investor opens a multitude of opportunities — and not all involve financial return (although the potentially high-yield VC investment is being eyed as an added revenue stream for the agency).

Rather, being in on the inner workings of the launch and growth of Silicon Road’s companies will provide insights into the ever-changing world of digital commerce, which will be of immense benefit to Spool’s clients, Merritt said.

“When you look at the companies we've invested in, there isn't a client at Spool who couldn't benefit from at least one of each of those companies,” Merritt said. “The thesis of SRV is about investing in retail, CPG and brand technology startups and that makes up who and what Spool's clients are. So this allows Spool to connect our clients to the emerging technologies shaping our clients' industries earlier than most others could because of our access as investors.”

Being an investor also enables staff to take a ‘master class’ on what it takes for companies to get VC funding, which may also be beneficial in serving clients, she said.

Spool has built a robust client roster since launching in 2018, winning business from Anycart, Rumi Spice, Coconut Bliss, Egglife Foods, Fluresh Cannabis, Fresh Thyme Market, Fruit-tella and The General among others.

The companies in Silicon Road’s portfolio include Silicon Road’s current portfolio includes: Perch, Toucan AI, WeStock, SoftWear Automation, and Patron.

“We’re thrilled to have Spool as an investor in the fund,” said Ross Kimbel, Silicon Road Ventures managing director and partner. “Their world-class marketing and communications expertise, as well as their network of clients across the e-commerce, CPG and retail space, is invaluable as we look to invest in more companies and grow our portfolio.”