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Erik Iverson

Emerging Industries | Startups
Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Erik Iverson provides the vision and overall leadership for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the designated patenting and licensing organization for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s research. Previously, he held leadership positions with the Infectious Disease Research Institute in Seattle and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program. He also was a founder and board member of Afrigen Biologics & Vaccines, a biotech company based in Cape Town, South Africa.

Education: Bachelor’s, Gustavus Adolphus College; J.D., University of North Dakota School of Law; master of laws in taxation, New York University School of Law

Career advice: “Bad customers drive away good. Whether you’re providing products or services, high-maintenance, difficult customers will consume an inordinate amount of time and energy, which will leave you with less time and energy to support and work with good customers.”

First car: “A red Caprice Classic Chevrolet station wagon, which my mother handed down to me in high school. I drove it for two years, putting a massive number of miles on it as a pizza delivery guy.”

Toughest business challenge you’ve ever faced: “Establishing Afrigen Biologics & Vaccines in South Africa, which was the first vaccine biotechnology startup company on the continent of Africa.”

First job: “I had a paper route for a few years starting when I was 10 years old. I learned to be responsible to get my job done, interact with each customer individually, and that my father would drive me on my route at 5 a.m. Sunday mornings only if it fell below 50.”

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