Mercia Fund Management is backing Aston University spin-out company Aston EyeTech with an investment of £230,000 to help roll out its innovative software to support optometrists.
The deal represents Henley-in-Arden-based Mercia's first investment with an Aston University spin-out, though it is already working with a number of other Midland universities on technology and biopharmaceutical technology businesses.
Aston EyeTech has developed software that supports optometrists with diagnosis, selling optical products and conducting clinical trials.
The funding will be used to grow the team and other resources required in year one as the company builds and trials the initial product range.
Aston EyeTech is a spin-out from the university's School of Optometry and a specialist in optometry research and professional training.
It is now targeting optical retailers in the UK and overseas, clinical trials organisations, domiciliary service providers and the NHS.
The company is also aiming to help opticians make more accurate and consistent diagnoses of eye conditions, ensuring high professional standards are met and that medico-legal protection is strengthened.
It will also help opticians sell more items through greater personalisation of product recommendations.
For clinical trials, Aston EyeTech's software enables eye tests to be conducted more efficiently, with faster collation and analysis of results.
The software uses mathematical techniques which have not yet been deployed in the field of optometry and is already being considered by a major player in the optometry sector which is set to host product trials and collaborate on development.
Paul Blackburn, executive chairman of Aston EyeTech, said: "The Mercia team has been excellent at pulling together phase one financing and in dealing with the complexities of the university's involvement as a founder shareholder, including their licensing of intellectual property."
Senior investment director at Mercia Fund Management, Tim Hazell, added "Mercia already has a strong track record of investing in university spin-outs and we are delighted to add an Aston University start-up to our portfolio.
"This investment will enable Aston EyeTech to make major steps in the commercialisation of its unique software in an established and highly receptive market.
"The company is yet another example of the high quality businesses that Mercia has backed with its university partners."