Mercia Technologies PLC, a Midlands based leader in the funding and commercialisation of technology businesses in the UK, announces today that it has acquired a 21% stake in VirtTrade Ltd, the digital card trading platform technology business, for £1.5m.
VirtTrade is the first direct investment made into a new ’emerging star’ from the Group’s third party funds managed by its wholly owned subsidiary, Mercia Fund Management (MFM), since the Group listed in December 2014.
VirtTrade’s trading engine takes the principle of a traditional printed card/sticker album and turns it into an interactive digital trading environment. Unlike traditional trading cards, VirtTrade driven cards can take live data feeds from a player, the IP owner, and the outside world. This significantly enriches the trading experience as well as providing exciting, custom opportunities for each IP owner.
VirtTrade was set up in 2012 and has developed an advanced technical platform. Mercia’s investment in VirtTrade follows VirtTrade’s recent acquisition of key IP rights and separately a notable partnership with a significant owner of numerous high profile global IP rights. This partnership provides validation of VirtTrade’s technology and model, targeting the release of its first cards later this year.
VirtTrade operates in a sector pro-actively targeted by Mercia – digitalisation of the playing card market – as it offers a disruptive and highly scalable investment opportunity.
Mark Payton, Chief Executive of Mercia Technologies PLC, said:
“VirtTrade, having created a digital trading card platform and secured significant partnerships, is an exciting and well regarded business that fits well with our investment strategy.
“The trading cards sector has yet to succumb to the digital revolution and we believe this business is well placed for rapid growth across multiple markets.
“We are delighted to be a material shareholder working with VirtTrade’s extremely advanced technical platform, and market leading management team, to build the business as it moves into the next phase of its development.”
John Howard, CEO and Co-Founder of VirtTrade Ltd, said:
“We are thrilled by Mercia’s increased commitment and their recognition of the significant potential VirtTrade’s technology offers in disrupting a sizeable global industry.
“Our team offers significant expertise across technology, sports, entertainment, IP and gaming, which will underpin and drive our future growth.
“We are currently developing several digital collectables for major established IPs and we are grateful for Mercia’s continued support.”