Holiday rental firm HouseTrip rakes in $40m as big backers multiply

HouseTrip, the holiday rental site that really doesn’t like being lumped in with Airbnb, has just raised a fresh round that takes in Accel Partners, as well as existing investors Balderton Capital and Index Ventures.

The $40m Series C round will apparently be used to help London-based HouseTrip grow market share, partly by expanding into new territories. The company’s competitors in this space include the aforementioned Airbnb, as well as more Europe-centric rivals such as Wimdu and 9flats.

“We don’t really look at our competitors,” HouseTrip CEO Arnaud Bertrand insisted to me. “We are pretty convinced about our own vision.”

That vision is pretty simple: make it as simple to book a rental property as it is to book a hotel room. As Bertrand notes, HouseTrip is “not very social” – unlike some of its competitors, the site eschews the setting-up of user profiles and the like.

Bertrand also notes the company’s relative focus on the high end. No guest rooms here; these are all proper rental properties. And, in a way, that makes up for the security boon that can come from forcing users to set up or link to social profiles.

“We have a pretty massive quality control team based in Lisbon,” Bertrand said. “They’re in charge of making sure that all new properties go through a pretty strict vetting process. We don’t go after primary residences because we think it’s simply too dangerous.”

HouseTrip also used the announcement to reveal some numbers – apart from the big ‘$60m’ number that now represents its total funding to date.

The site now has more than 130,000 properties listed in over 15,00 destinations, and it reckons it’s on track for more than three million nights’ bookings between its 2010 launch and the end of this year. Based on recent figures, and with local rival Wimdu having cut back its operations recently, that probably puts HouseTrip in second place behind Airbnb.

It may well be the case that the holiday rental market is not a winner-takes-all game, but that doesn’t stop it being fiercely competitive. With its growing collection of big-league backers, HouseTrip is certainly placing itself well for the next phase of the fight.