The best companies are built on strong foundations.

Our Mission

We are a partner in your success.

Significant value creation doesn't happen by accident. You have to get the big things right: a large and growing market opportunity; a unique and defensible product or service; and the people to execute. But you also have to take care of the basics and do things the right way even when no one will know the difference. That's what we call building a strong foundation.

Our job is to help you navigate the critical inflection points of your business. We leverage our experience with growth stage companies, our industry knowledge, and our skills with strategic corporate transactions to help you make the right decisions at the right time. And we don't take shortcuts.

We make private investments and provide business advisory services for early and growth stage companies in the mobile, enterprise software (SaaS), and healthcare industries.

“If you are looking for someone who will give it to you straight and get things done, look no further. John possesses the unique combination of financial expertise and significant operational experience that helps companies achieve the next level of success.” – Tim Donahue, Former Chairman and CEO, Nextel Communications, Inc.

Private Investments

We invest where we can make a contribution.

We contribute through industry knowledge, an understanding of growth stage operational challenges, and guidance on strategic corporate transactions. Our experience includes personal, institutional, and corporate venture investing. We invest our capital along with capital from a select group of private investors who can contribute their own industry and operational expertise. We prefer growth stage companies who have demonstrated an ability to generate revenue and cash flow, but are willing to invest in earlier stage companies who we feel have a compelling strategic opportunity.
Previous Investments

Our desired criteria

  • Mobile, Enterprise Software (SaaS), or Healthcare focused
  • Compelling and “relevant” management team
  • Recurring revenue businesses
  • Demonstrated customer need
  • Operational and financial scalability
  • Post-revenue companies
  • Ability to invest $500k -$2M

Send us your business plan »

Business Advisory

We work with business owners and executives to close important corporate transactions

We help you build value in your business. We get things done. We have experience with companies at all stages of development (private early-stage companies through large publicly-traded companies). We work directly with Boards and C-Level executives and we operate as a seamless extension of your team.

Experience with:
  • Executing all aspects of the investment process (due diligence, deal structuring, etc.);
  • Providing guidance on corporate financing transactions;
  • Identifying, evaluating and negotiating mergers or acquisitions;
  • Managing the implementation of joint ventures, spin-offs and divestitures;
  • Advising Boards on strategic matters;
  • Serving on Boards (typically along with investment).
Who should partner with us?

Early and growth stage companies who need assistance with key corporate transactions (financing, M&A)

Private investors who need industry or transactional expertise at any stage of the investment life cycle

Corporate investors who are seeking minority investments in private companies for growth or industry insight

Contact us to learn more »


John Willmoth

John H. Willmoth

Founder and Managing Partner

John has over twenty five years of corporate development, strategic planning and investment experience, and is the founder of Poplar Ventures, an investment and business advisory firm working with early and growth stage investors and companies in the mobile, enterprise software (SaaS), and healthcare industries. Poplar Ventures is a culmination of John’s diverse business experience at the personal, corporate, and institutional levels. As a private investor, John was an early investor in Aprimo, Inc., a provider of enterprise SaaS marketing software, which was sold to Teradata, Inc. in 2011, and is a current investor in Zirmed, Inc., a provider of revenue cycle management SaaS software to healthcare providers. He has served on the Board of Zirmed since 2008. For the past seven years, John has served as a Venture Partner at Chrysalis Ventures, where he identified and helped lead Open Kernel Labs, Inc., a provider of virtualization software for mobile devices, to a successful sale to General Dynamics. On behalf of Chrysalis, John continues to serve on the Board of Continuum 700, LLC, which owns 700 MHz wireless spectrum acquired at FCC auction, and previously served on the Board of Mobile Armor, Inc., a provider of mobile security software.

Prior to Chrysalis, John had a distinguished seventeen year career at Nextel Communications, most recently as Vice President, Corporate Development. As a member of Nextel’s senior management team since 1989, he was instrumental in leading the company through an intensive growth phase via a series of mergers and acquisitions, and completed several significant new business transactions including the creation of Nextel Partners, Inc. and Boost Mobile, LLC. In later years, John managed Nextel’s private equity investments and led the negotiations with technology, infrastructure, and device partners for the company’s planned rollout of 4G technology. Before joining Nextel, John worked for First Chicago Corporation in various capacities, principally in the areas of venture capital, mezzanine capital and private equity.

John has a BA from Amherst College and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He is an active sports enthusiast and currently serves on the Board of the Louisville Sports Commission. John is married and has three children.