From launching national media companies to co-founding international software startups, Genevieve Bos’ professional story is its own unique page-turner. And that makes sense, as she told Hypepotamus started her career as a storyteller and “bridge” between the tech and business worlds.
Bos’ latest chapter is all about growing Poplar, a B2B platform and Atlanta-based startup.
Poplar works as a YaaS (Yield as a Service) platform for businesses looking to better invest their idle cash.
The reality is that companies have to keep money on hand to pay taxes, buy inventory, plan for acquisitions, and keep up with operating expenses. But idle cash on a balance sheet means missed opportunities, especially in high inflationary environments.
Letting cash stay idle is a decision to “lock in losses,” Bos explained.
While executive teams at companies of all sizes are looking to decrease those losses, only larger companies traditional have the ability to build out entire treasury department teams to help manage liquidity decisions.
Behind Poplar’s Financial Platform
“Treasury management hasn’t innovated in decades,” she told Hypepotamus. “Our hometown big Fortune 100 companies like Coke, Delta, UPS and Home Depot have Treasury Departments whose job is to make sure to optimize their idle cash. The SMB (small-to-medium) market cannot afford this level of infrastructure and talent. We realized the timing was perfect to solve the problem because the technology was there to finally design a SaaS platform, we call it a YaaS – “Yield as a Service” – that would be intuitive, safe and secure to use, and we could level the playing field for SMB’s.”
Businesses connect their accounts and Poplar’s idle cash scanner tool helps companies figure out how best to invest that cash moving forward. The goal is to make it as easy for businesses to manage their investments in a personalized way through different accounts and pools to reflect specific business needs.
Poplar’s yield marketplace opens up a variety of traditional and DeFi (decentralized finance) options and is designed to help companies “automatically invest [their] cash so it appreciates in value while they’re waiting to use it to grow their business.”
It is all about leveraging better investment opportunities. Traditional banks lend money or they buy treasuries, which offer about 4.5%. In comparison, typical business checking accounts offer around 1.5%.
“So why should any business put up with meager returns when they can access a yield marketplace of fixed income Treasuries today through Poplar and make at least 4.5%? In fact, most CEO’s don’t realize that 100% of their deposits in Treasuries are covered by the US Government while only $250,000 is covered by your bank’s FDIC insurance. When you take all the above into account, every business leader managing cash should make sure to have all the money they don’t immediately need invested and then back when they need it,” Bos added.
Meet The Poplar Team
Poplar got off the ground when Bos and Lior Weinsten – a serial entrepreneur and software startup veteran – realized they had idle cash on hand from their recent business incubator venture. The two wanted to figure out a better way to invest their working capital.
Their strategy worked. Other CEOs around them quickly started taking notes.
“We invested the money ourselves and made 3-20% on our idle cash,” Bos told Hypepotamus. “CEO friends asked us how, so we did some free workshops. We quickly learned that the process was just a bit too laborious for them but they were extremely eager for the returns.”
The Poplar team is currently made up of 16 people across the globe.
After getting off the ground in 2021, Poplar raised a $2.2 million pre-seed round from Fintech CEOs and other company leaders interested in using the financial platform. It recently opened its $3 million seed round.
Moving into the new year, Bos said Poplar is looking to expand its relationships with fractional CTOs and will look for API distribution partners (think financial and banking technology giants like Fiserv and Jack Henry).
Poplar has a current waiting list of over 150 companies heading into Q1 of 2023, according to Bos.
Most business leaders are certainly bracing for more market uncertainty as we head into 2023. But Bos said that Poplar’s business model is “uncorrelated” with market conditions, since businesses will always look for ways to conserve cash and better leverage idle cash.
How businesses best leverage their idle cash could help keep more doors open in 2023 and beyond.
“Timing is considered one of the top 3 reasons a start-up is successful. We believe that every SMB will need to turn over every rock to find new revenue sources in 2023 and beyond. Similar to the 2008 recession, Airbnb made millions of people realize they had an untapped revenue source in their own extra bedroom. We are doing the same for SMB’s. Helping them realize new revenue from their untapped resource – their own idle cash,” she told Hypepotamus.