Highland Europe, the spin off from the US VC giant Highland, just led a €60 million growth raise for Parisian startup Le Collectionist, adding firepower to the latter's budget for growing its premium, tailor-made vacations offering, which encompasses rental properties, services and experiences.
Also taking part in the round is the luxury experience-focused OLMA, families office Famille C, Swiss banks Pictet and Lombard Odier, and business angels Nicolas Beraud, Fabrice Grinda, Nathalie Le Roy, Red River West and Xavier Romatet.
Armed with the new funding, Le Collectionist has an expansion drive lined up aiming to grow headcount by 120 next year, across its Parisian HQ as well as local offices around southern France, Spain and Switzerland, and future London/NYC branches.
It might seem indulgent but when you've waited so long to get out of town it's the finer details that could really matter. Le Collectionist's provided data suggests holidaymakers increasingly demand "unique experiences" and luxury living quarters achieved by renting their own chalets and villas, and by 2028, these property-led experiences could represent a $50 billion market.
Since starting in 2014, Le Collectionist has set out to give holidaymakers moments to truly cherish in its "exceptional" home rentals, mainly sparkling villas in some of Europe's most sought beach spots, like Ibiza, Italy and southern France.
The business model taps into the exclusivity factor with a knee-deep waiting list to rent one of the properties; just 3% of those asking get their hands on the keys, the company said.
Le Collectionist's property portfolio spans 1,800 residences in 30 destinations; across the French Riviera and the Portuguese Algarve, and further afield into Morocco, the Caribbean, Costa Rica and South Africa.
The experiences on offer include vintage car rentals, secret treks and Michelin star dinners.
The business has been on an acquisition spree to broaden the appeal of its offering, for instance recently buying up a Swiss ski chalet hire company, Bramble Ski, a real estate operator in the French Alps called Vallat and property managers in Greece and Ibiza.
Max Aniort, co-founder of Le Collectionist, said: "Holidays are about creating memories and sharing once-in-a-lifetime moments with the people we love. This is what lies at the heart of everything we do at Le Collectionist.
"We want our guests to be given the best experiences and the attention they deserve to embrace and share precious time with family and friends.
"It’s great to have Irena and Highland Europe on this journey, as we share the same philosophy of excellence and leadership in everything we do.”
Irena Goldenberg, partner at Highland Europe, added: "Le Collectionist has become a beacon for luxury, experiential holidays.
"It’s a testament to the team and their unique and tailored approach to curating holidays that the company is now the world’s leading luxury experience provider, and a trusted brand, with the leading customer satisfaction metrics across the entire industry.
"The team is as selective about the owners they partner with and the experiences they offer as their customers, and we’re thrilled to be joining them.“