Beyond the investment: A talk with Ron Lohuis, Co-founder of Partnify

From left to right: Jens Visser, Ron Lohuis, Daniël van der Berg and Jonatan Elgersma

"This investment is more than just money; it is a confirmation of our potential and vision," states Ron Lohuis, co-founder of Partnify. The startup, which offers a solution for efficient business collaborations, has just achieved an impressive milestone by raising no less than half a million euros. Partnify is revolutionizing the way companies collaborate by bringing them together in an advanced, scalable cloud environment. Following the announcement of their recent financial success, Founded spoke with Ron Lohuis, co-founder of Partnify and a founder from Groningen, about growth trajectories and the future. 

Ron and Jens: From Grow-ID to Partnify 
They met during a marketing lecture at Hanze University, where a conversation about Ron's then-company, Grow-ID, quickly turned into an invitation for a beer. Ron recalls, "I shared my experiences about Grow-ID with Jens, and he showed a sincere interest in the idea." This initial exchange of ideas led to a meeting outside the lecture halls. "Let's have a beer at your place in Groningen and talk more about it," Jens suggested, laying the foundation for their future collaboration. This unplanned beer turned out to be the start of both a friendship and partnership; as Ron describes, "Jens directly asked me if I was interested in working together. I said yes without hesitation." Their shared passion for solving real-world entrepreneurial problems ultimately led to the birth of Partnify, a platform that streamlines and enhances collaboration between SMEs and freelancers/agencies. They realized there was a big gap between what service providers offered and what companies needed. Moreover, they saw many inefficiencies in communication and project lead times between companies and freelancers or agencies in their work with Grow-ID. 

Ron reflects on their journey: "It was a convergence of ambitions and insights that led us to Partnify.” At the end of 2022, Partnify was launched, founded by Jens Visser, Ron Lohuis, Daniël van der Berg, and Jonatan Elgersma. While initially, it was just Jens and Ron, they soon decided more founders were needed. "Because Jens and I ourselves did not have the technical development skills that they did." He explains that he and Jens decided to collaborate with Jonathan and Daniel because of their technical expertise, which was essential for the development of Partnify. Ron clarifies, "To attract investors, we needed to have a tangible product. The technical skills of Daniël and Jonathan were crucial in this." 

"Running a startup is not a fairy tale," Ron notes, emphasizing that success in the startup world is not just about glamour and high company valuations, as often portrayed on social media and platforms like LinkedIn. He admits that he and his partner Jens initially did not fully understand what starting a startup entailed, especially in terms of working with investors. Ron shares a candid perspective: “Part of my job is not necessarily fun," acknowledging the difficult moments and long evenings inherent in entrepreneurship. However, he sees these challenges as crucial for personal growth and success. His experiences underline the importance of perseverance and learning to appreciate the 'deep valleys' that come with navigating the dynamic and often unpredictable world of startups. 

"It was a convergence of ambitions and insights that led us to Partnify.”

Ron LohuisCo-Founder Partnify

500,000 euros in growth capital  
The pre-seed investment comes from ten angel investors, including two of the founders of Embrace Cloud. This round was not without its challenges; the process involved approaching an estimated 1,200 to 1,400 potential investors, eventually narrowing down to a select group of about ten investors. Ron explains that, although they approached a wide range of potential investors in their search for financial support, including many from cities like Amsterdam and Utrecht, ultimately part of their investment came from the Groningen region, such as Embrace Cloud. 

He shares that the current circle of investors not only believes in Partnify on a professional level but also has a personal connection with the team. Among the investors are well-known names like Raymon Pouwels from GoSharing, whom Ron particularly appreciates for his support and trust. These investors are essential for Partnify, not only because of their financial support but also for their advice and networking opportunities, contributing to the growth and development of the platform. 

The investment will primarily be used for the further development of the Partnify platform. He explains that while many startups are inclined to reserve a large portion of their investments for marketing and visibility, Partnify is taking a different approach. Their strategy is more focused on onboarding companies and integrating their feedback into the development of the platform. Ron emphasizes the importance of directly involving users in the development process, by collecting feedback and using it to improve and adapt the platform. 

Growing as a founder
"In the beginning, my focus was mainly on entrepreneurship for myself," says Ron, but he notes that this mindset has shifted to a greater sense of responsibility towards their investors and customers, family members, and friends. Ron illustrates how their joint journey was not just a business venture, but also a platform for personal development. Both have learned to appreciate the ups and downs of entrepreneurship and use these experiences for their personal and professional growth. "It's a path of constant development, both for us as individuals and for our company," Ron concludes. 

Asked if Ron has any tips for other founders, he responds briefly, but powerfully: “Collaborate with people who give you energy instead of draining it. In good times but especially in bad times, this will yield you a lot." 


To learn more about Partnify, check: