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Former DIP winner, Michael Tougher receives €50,000 investment for his product

It’s always extremely satisfying and exciting when we see previous winners and finalists of DIP go on to greater things with their excellent products and their careers.


In 2014, Michael Tougher invented a product, called DOTS, which encourages children to learn music in a fun way, and as a result of his win, was given a £1,000 cash prize, a placement with one of the competition sponsors, Hasbro, the toy and board game company, and a trip to see headline sponsor Covestro – then Bayer MaterialScience.

Now he has announced he has received a €50,000 investment which will help launch his product onto the market. The investment in the product comes from Belgian-based Meusinvest and its LeanSquare initiative, which specialises in supporting startups of ‘the new economy’ – those using digital technologies to shake up existing industries, such as music, in order to create new, better products and services.

Michael has spent several years since winning the DIP award further developing his transformational music education invention, now called Soundbops, and was delighted when he won the Royal Academy of Engineering Launchpad Competition in 2016.

As part of his Launchpad prize he received The JC Gammon Award, comprising a £15,000 injection and Membership of its Enterprise Hub, which provides access to mentoring from the Academy’s prestigious Fellowship, and training and networking opportunities to help entrepreneurs build the skills and contacts crucial to success.

Soundbops is made up of a speaker, a board with 16 slots spread across four rows, and a full set of ‘notes’ that can be put in any order into the slots. These notes are pressed to play them and can be stacked on top of each other to create chords.

With his first customers secured, Michael tells us he is finalising the manufacturing and attracting further investment to bring Soundbops to market for Christmas 2018.

Soundbops has its own website, www.soundbops.com where you can see more pictures and a video of Soundbops in action.