Protein pores that selectively transport ions across membranes are among nature's most efficient machines. The selectivity of these pores can be exploited for ion sensing and water purification. Since it is difficult to reconstitute membrane proteins in their active form for practical applications it is desirable to develop robust synthetic compounds that selectively transport ions across cell membranes. One can envision tuning the selectivity of pores by incorporating functional groups inside the pore. Readily accessible octapeptides containing (aminomethyl)benzoic acid and alanine are reported here that preferentially transport cations over halides across the lipid bilayer. Ion transport is hypothesized through pores formed by stable assemblies of the peptides. The aromatic ring(s) appear to be proximal to the pore and could be potentially utilized for functionalizing the pore interior. © 2015 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.