You may have seen her at PortXL events, working in the background to make sure everything runs smoothly. Esther Lokhorst was there from the early beginnings as Program Manager of PortXL and she will continue to play a part in our network. We talk about her time at PortXL and get a glimpse of her future plans.   

When did you start at PortXL?

Wow, that has got to be four and a half years ago. I think it was October 2015 when I officially started at PortXL.

How were you made aware of PortXL?

I was made aware by Carolien (Sandee, Director and Co-Founder of PortXL). She was working in Eindhoven then for HighTechXL. She told me she was going to start a program in Rotterdam, just like the one in Eindhoven. I was a mentor in HighTechXL at that moment. So when I heard that, I said: “When you start, please call me, because I want to be involved.” I am truly passionate about shipping. Both my brothers-in-law are involved in the shipping industry and I love the maritime industry.

What did you do exactly at PortXL?

It has evolved over the years. My official title was Program Manager. In the first years I was involved in designing the program at PortXL, also setting up the mentoring program and helping with scouting as well. I did a bit of everything. Above all, I made sure we helped the start-ups with landing in the Netherlands and by supporting them.

Which results are you proud of the most?

We started with a very small team. We had a lot of changes over the years, but I think PortXL has really come far with what they have done and how they are moving internationally. Like any start-up, PortXL has had to revisit their business model and had to learn. PortXL has grown and it’s wonderful to see what the team looks like now. It’s a very strong team.

If you look at the start-ups and scale-ups, what I am most proud about is that we have been able to build a network, consisting of amazing people and companies. For myself, it has been a great opportunity to be part of that.

What are you going to miss?

Besides the team, I am going to miss the start-ups and scale-ups. I loved working with them. I am an early bird and I would be in Rotterdam as one of the first in the office, having my morning chats with the start-ups. We discussed what was going on and at the end of the day – late sometimes – sitting there and talking with them, hearing what they were going through, and trying to help them. I am still in touch with a lot of them and I know that will stay the same.

I am a lucky person, now moving from PortXL to one of the companies that was involved in the first year of the program, RanMarine Technology. I will hold the role of COO there.

What does RanMarine do?

RanMarine is a technology company and our ambition is to clean the environment. We produce aquatic drones and we clean plastics or litter from the waters. This is in ports, in marinas, but also rivers, lakes and canals.

Have you set any particular goals for the remainder of the year?

For RanMarine, we are improving our technology and developing new products. And of course: sales, sales, sales. At the moment, we are looking at how to pick up business development again. We are looking at our branding. These are times in which we can focus on that.

Watch a video of Esther Lokhorst at RanMarine: