Warwickshire investment stream Mercia Fund Management has backed a digital trading card developer with £280,000 in funding.

VirtTrade delivers the mechanics of physical card and sticker collecting and trading but via digital technology to make the experience more interactive and engaging.

The Kent company's trading engine has been in development for a number of years and the company claims it is unique in the way it allows users to complete trades on a global scale and in real time.

The company has secured funding from a series of private and professional investors and second stage Enterprise Investment Scheme funding from Mercia.

It will be used to develop the company's core technology and license the commercial content needed to enhance the product within the next 12 months.

The investment package will also be used to strengthen its team of designers, developers and marketers.

Mike Hayes, head of Henley-based Mercia Fund Management's digital division, said: "VirtTrade's USP makes it a significant and exciting addition to our digital portfolio.

"Its ability to take an already profitable traditional model to new heights in the digital world demonstrates a highly scalable concept that has the capacity to appeal to consumers of all ages.

"The digital division at Mercia Fund Management is looking forward to working further with VirtTrade and welcomes the company to our portfolio of innovative companies."

VirtTrade chief executive John Howard added: "The sticker and trading card market is extremely well established but the current model was not designed for today's users.

"Working with Mercia Fund Management will enable us to take our technology to new partners and grow our business further.

"The investment team's business expertise has already helped us to secure critical hires, significant license deals and kick start product development."