Cannabis tech startup Fyllo moves into new West Loop digs after raising $18M in funding

Company looks to help firms around the country navigate the patchwork of laws governing the advertising and marketing of legal weed.

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Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. helps employees of the cannabis tech firm Fyllo cut the ribbon at the company’s new West Town headquarters.

Tom Schuba/Sun-Times

Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) immediately noticed something was missing when he showed up at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Fyllo, a new marijuana tech company setting up shop in his ward.

“There’s nobody smoking weed,” Burnett joked as employees mulled around the trendy new office space at 845 W. Washington Blvd.

Stoner jokes aside, the cannabis marketing firm is all business. In just eight months, Fyllo has raised $18 million in funding and now plans to kick off another financing round in February.

Fyllo CEO Chad Bronstein said he started the firm to help clients navigate the rapidly changing patchwork of state and local laws regulating cannabis advertising. Illinois doesn’t allow advertising on public transit, for example.

Fyllo’s proprietary CannaBrain technology streamlines the process by sifting through “billions of data points” that allow brands to formulate advertising campaigns and enabling publishers to “create and monetize” compliant ads, according to the company’s website.

“It’s very challenging if you’re trying to run a campaign for advertising when you have to follow different laws for every suburb and every city,” said Bronstein. “And so we automated [the process].”

In addition to the company’s West Town headquarters, Fyllo has also opened offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Denver and Israel, as well as satellite hubs in Toronto and Cleveland. The company currently has 35 full-time employees, but Bronstein said that number will likely jump to 50 within a few months.

While many of the 25 employees at Fyllo’s Chicago employees have worked at tech-driven marketing and advertising firms — including Bronstein, a former executive at the digital advertising company Amobee — everyone has a unique role. That extends to Katie Ford, Twitter’s Chicago-based head of global brands, who said her purview as a member of Fyllo’s board of directors is “to help these guys navigate who we should be talking to, in terms of clients and the conversation and the narrative.”

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