Pandora is one of the Internet's slow and steady success stories.
After years of work and more than $20 million dollars invested, the company is finally looking at the light of the end of the tunnel: Turning a profit. In this exclusive interview with founder Tim Westergren after a town hall meetup in Richmond, Virginia, we discuss the company's close call with bankruptcy in 2007, their ad-based revenue model, their roadmap for adding new features and an open API, and their incorporation into a variety of hardware devices.
Westergren told us that in 2003, he was burdened by about $200,000 of personal debt from his efforts with the startup. Most of the employees had gone long periods of time without paychecks. When the company finally got a badly needed round of funding, about $1.5 million went immediately to recifying a payroll backlog.
Now, however, the "unwitting nonprofit" is closer than ever to growing revenues larger than their expenses, news the investors will surely be ecstatic to hear.
In addition to recording this one-on-one talk with Westergren, we also captured about 20 uncut minutes of his talk to Richmond fans and users. Watch for the fuller story of Pandora's trials, triumphs, and evolution, including an extended discussion of the utterly unscalable but nevertheless fascinating Music Genome Project.