This Chicago Shop Barters for Stakes in Small Brands, Gaining Business Smarts

But Schafer Condon Carter also loves making ads for the Cubs


Who Managing partner, president David Selby (l.) and founding partner, CEO Tim Condon, with visiting pooch Charlie

What Full-service agency

Where Chicago

Beyond creating ads for the likes of Land O'Lakes, ConAgra Foods and the Chicago Cubs (most recently launching an ambitious "Let's Go" TV campaign touting the struggling team's new faces), Schafer Condon Carter invests in small startups and brands that need advice about how to market and expand their businesses. The shop provides cash and services in exchange for stakes in the companies, be it Uncle Dougie's sauces, rubs and mixes or Social Market Analytics, which measures positive and negative sentiment around stocks on Twitter. In the process, the 100-person agency, which opened in 1989 and generates about $16 million in annual revenue, learns what it's like to "walk in our clients' shoes," said CEO Tim Condon. "We're a much more savvy advertising agency because of it."