Great technology companies can emerge anywhere.

Mission

Building compelling technology companies in middle America.

Cloud-Based Software

We invest in companies who deliver B2B software technology services via the cloud using a subscription based business model. The solution doesn’t have to be bleeding edge but it should give the company a unique opportunity to target a new emerging market or to disrupt an existing market. In either case, this means potential for outsized growth.

Middle-America

We will invest anywhere in the U.S. but our roots are in middle America and like the fact that companies here tend to be a little more pragmatic. We will not be shy about investing for growth when the conditions warrant, but growing your business in a capital efficient manner works just fine too.

Early Growth

We prefer to invest the bulk of our capital once the company has achieved $5+ million in annualized recurring revenue. This means better clarity on customer traction and the operating characteristics of the business. Having said that, most of our investments have come from pre-existing relationships, so we do like to get to know entrepreneurs early.

Companies

We invest where we can make a contribution.

Platform-agnostic database for podcast content and discovery.

Marketing cloud solutions for high considered purchase verticals.

Cloud-based inventory and warehouse management system software.

Video creativity platform for social media live-streaming.

Marketing lead prospecting solutions. 

VR experiences for healthy behavior.

Healthcare revenue cycle management software.

Acquired by Bain Capital in 2017.

Software testing and QA tools.

Acquired by Insight Venture Partners in 2017.

Integrated enterprise marketing software.

Acquired by Teradata in 2011.

Each of the above investments was made by John H. Willmoth, either as a private investor or as Managing Partner of Poplar Ventures, L.P.

Ethos

Life is short…choose your partners carefully.

Roots

Small beginnings. Humble, hungry, and competitive. The belief that you can do something better, but that nothing is preordained and you have to work your tail off to achieve it. It’s those early experiences that guide you and become part of your culture. We value founders and entrepreneurs who are well grounded.

Authenticity

The genesis of a company is important. Our experience suggests the best companies and entrepreneurs evolve naturally from a customer need or a deep understanding that there is a better way. We don’t claim to be visionaries but we do recognize that the ongoing democratization of technology creates opportunities. We leverage our experience with growth companies and subscription based software technology to help entrepreneurs build compelling companies in places you might not expect.

Execution

Having a passion for what you are doing is important. But it’s not enough. You still have to pay attention to the details and get things done. It helps to have investors who have been there before. We have been on the front lines of Nextel’s growth from a startup to a $15 billion revenue company. We have worked side by side with management at both pre-revenue companies and emerging companies scaling past $100 million in revenues. We understand what a growth company looks like and what is needed to scale.

Tenacity

We don’t believe in shortcuts and we don’t believe in overnight success. We know firsthand that being part of an early growth stage company is not always pretty. But our experience also tells us that there are almost always solutions. The best companies and entrepreneurs are transparent about what they are facing and keep solving for answers. We are not afraid of being on that journey with you.

Adaptability

Never stop learning. Don’t assume that what works today will work tomorrow. And figure out what works best for your individual company. Not every industry is the same. Not every customer profile is the same. Some products are more complicated to build, sell, or deliver. Entrepreneurs bring different skill sets. We believe that every company should be treated on its own merits.

Team

John H. Willmoth

Founder and Managing Partner

John has over thirty years of corporate development and investment experience, including a long tenure as a senior executive at Nextel, over a dozen venture investments, and service on multiple corporate Boards. His investment experience spans seed, early, and growth stages for private, institutional, and corporate ventures. 

Investment Advisory Partners

Poplar Ventures’ investor group is comprised of individuals with business success in a wide variety of industries. Included within this group are a handful of Investment Advisory Partners who have direct experience with scaling growth stage technology based companies. These Investment Advisory Partners are available to Poplar and its portfolio companies for industry, operational, technology, and financial guidance.

Vik Chadha

Vik Chadha

Founder and CEO of Scalable Ventures, a firm investing in and creating innovative software products.  Co-founder of GlowTouch Technologies and Backupify.

Michael Davis

Michael Davis

Co-founder and CEO of Appriss. Two time winner of the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and 2019 inductee to the Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.

Chris Joseph

Chris Joseph

CEO of Enablon and three time successful entrepreneur. Experience leading global software platforms and has served on multiple private equity backed Boards.

Jim Lacy

Jim Lacy

President & COO of Collective Medical. Experienced CFO, General Counsel, M&A, and Product focused executive working within high growth enterprise companies.

Greg Langdon

Greg Langdon

Experienced technology executive with a background in corporate and product strategy. Advisor and mentor to over 100 companies as part of three accelerator programs.

Chris Schremser

Chris Schremser

CTO of Waystar and predecessor Zirmed for two decades. Experience as the lead architect of a technology platform operating in a complex regulatory environment.

Doug Smith

Doug Smith

Senior Microsoft executive leading customer transformation to cloud services. Experience with AI, data center modernization, IoT, cloud application development and DevOps.

News

The latest from Poplar Ventures.

Poplar Ventures announces the final closing of Venture Capital Fund and new Investment Advisory Partners

A conversation with Kevin Scott, author of “Reprogramming the American Dream”

Leadiq: 14 Tips From 14 Experts How To Prospect Amidst The Coronavirus Pandemic

Watch this Podcast Video about Why John Willmoth launched Poplar Ventures.