Google-backed VerSe valued at $5 bln in latest funding round

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Geetha Sridha, 54, makes a video with her daughter Sarada Sridhar, that will upload on an Indian short video app, in Mumbai, India, July 1, 2020. REUTERS/Hemanshi Kamani/

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NEW DELHI, April 6 (Reuters) - India's VerSe Innovation has raised $805 million in a funding round led by Canada's top pension fund, putting a $5 billion valuation on the Google-backed (GOOGL.O) parent of short-video app Josh and news aggregator Dailyhunt.

The funding round saw participation from firms including Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board, Luxor Capital and Sumeru Ventures.

VerSe said the investment will strengthen the AI-powered local language content platform across its family of apps, which targets the next billion of internet users from India.

Josh, which has more than 150 million monthly active users, competes in India with home-grown rival Moj and Meta Platforms Inc's (FB.O) Instagram Reels, all of which have sprung up since the country blocked the popular TikTok in June 2020 amid a border crisis with China.

The short video space has since attracted global investor interest in applications filling the gap.

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Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in New Delhi; Editing by David Holmes

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