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Arnaud Bertrand isn’t your typical startup founder. Where brogramming cliches about “crushing it” bounce around Silicon Valley’s coding galleys, the French entrepreneur is mild-mannered and unassuming. Where his peers are brash and bombastic, the 27-year-old is careful to keep his monster-sized ambitions under control.

And yet the ambition is there — and company he runs, online vacation rental company HouseTrip, is doing well right now. It just raised $40 million and is pushing the much-vaunted Airbnb into second place in Europe.