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A Dino 'Soar' Idea

A 15-foot class project that first turned heads at a costume party has spawned into an overnight crowdfunding sensation.

Lisa Glover, a student in Lehigh’s technical entrepreneurship master’s program, recently launched an online crowdfunding campaign through Kickstarter for “KitRex: the 3D paper velociraptor that you build yourself” by folding a high quality Bristol board.

Her Kickstarter goal was rather modest: she aimed to raise $8,000 to purchase a custom-made steel die to cut the complex shapes needed for the kits.

She quickly surpassed that goal, and has since raised close to $100,000 through orders for approximately 4,500 kits and three orders for giant, custom KitRex costumes – the inspiration for her start-up. The campaign concludes on April 29.

Drawing upon the origami skills she first learned as a young girl, Glover made the 15-foot velociraptor costume out of chipboard for a course assignment. It doubled as a Halloween costume and became a hit on Lehigh's campus. The costume even made headlines in a New York Times feature about students getting creative.

Admirers asked over and over again: “How can I get one?” With that, KitRex, its 3-foot cousin, was born. “This has been an unexpected, but amazing journey for me,” said Glover, who has also received marriage proposals along with kit orders. “Driving this project is comments from supporters like Casey Nichols.”

Nichols shared the following on Kickstarter after showing Glover’s Kickstarter campaign to her 5-year-old daughter: “She loved it, and when she found out she could get one in pink she was all in. I told her she had to raise the 15 dollars before the last day of your Kickstarter to show her support. WE HAVE HAD SUCH A BLAST WATCHING YOUR SUCCESS!!! Thanks for sharing your idea with the world and providing a wonderful lesson for my daughter!!! Best of luck to you.”

Glover’s success has attracted interest from the toy divisions of Target and Amazon, as well as Fat Brain Toys, who invited Glover to appear with KitRex in May at the grand opening of its new store in Kansas City, Mo.

Following graduation in May, Glover plans to grow her company, ArchiTrep, in the student incubator space at Ben Franklin TechVentures on Lehigh’s Mountaintop campus – an honor she earned as a first-place graduate student winner in the Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation’s EUREKA! Ventures Competition Series.

Glover is already planning next steps, too. After fans master the velociraptor kit, she plans to introduce an entire Jurassic Park of KitRex. 

Story by Sally Gilotti

Posted on Friday, April 25, 2014

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