Happy B’Day Tim Westergren: The Entrepreneur Who Obstinately Refused to Quit !

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The man who believes ‘it’s all about timing‘ is the biggest myth in business, the man who never regrets his actions and considers his sacrifices as his own choices. From being a bankrupt to the owner of a multi-billion dollar company requires a hell lot of patience and efforts and Tim Westergren has shown to the world how to do it in style.


In 1999, at the age of 35, Tim Westergren co-founded “Pandora Radio”– the company that revolutionized the music industry. He Graduated in Music and Computer Applications from Stanford in 1988 opened the gates to pursue his goals.

Full Name: Timothy Brooks Westergren


Born: December 21st, 1965 Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Net Worth: $22 Million

This obstinate, self-made multi-millionaire has a lot under his sleeve, and today on his 50th birthday, we have brought a list of interesting, yet less known, facts about his life and achievements.

  • Music in his veins: From the childhood, Tim Westergren has got an appetite for music. His childhood love was Piano, which he started playing at the age of 7. Apart from that, he also plays the bassoon, the recorder, the drums and the clarinet.
  • His personal Pandora station comprises of James Taylor, Ben Folds, Oscar Peterson, Elvis Costello, Muddy Waters and Josh Fix.
  • He played keyboard for Rock bands namely ‘Late Coffee and Oranges’ and ‘barefoot’ for almost a decade. In search of fame he left the Rock bands in 1995.
  • Unsure about his future, he also worked as a male nanny for 5 years and also loves kids.
  • He also tried his luck as a composer, known for The Last Best Sunday (1999), The Colbert Report (2005) and Charlie Rose (1991).
  • A ‘D-‘ in his Organizational leadership course as he wrote his own thoughts without obeying to the instructions in the examination paper. A course he loved as he wanted to be an entrepreneur, made him sad, but he never regretted it.
  • Pandora began as ‘Savage Beast Technologies’ which Tim co-founded with Jon Kraft and Will Glaser, which proved to be a dying business. Will Glaser also helped Tim to sketch out the business plan for Pandora.
  • 348– Yes, Tim Westergren was denied 347 times before he received his first venture capitalist.
  • In March 2000 he was able to raise $1.5 million in venture capitalist but the joy didn’t last long as the market crashed after 2 weeks.
  • The struggle: He maxed out his 11 credit cards, paid office rent from his checkbook, 4 of his employees sued him for non-payment of their salaries but the irony was that Tim never knew deferring for payment of salaries was illegal. Consequently, his savings were spent in the settlements.
  • Believers: 50 employees worked 2 years for him without getting paid as they believed in his idea.
  • With the help of a musicologist and Glaser, he created Music Genome project– that includes around 500,000 songs being analyzed in every possible way to cater the needs of the listener.
  • He offered first 10-hour music playback for every new login before charging the fees which didn’t work, so he decided to make ad-based revenue model.
  • He jokes that he can give anything to be in the Ironman suit for 15 mins.
  • In his earlier days, he frequently arranged meetings with his customers that worked wonders for him. That made his customers his fans.
  • He considers iTunes as his competitor, but admires Steve Jobs, Tim was invited for the launch of the multitasking feature on iPhone as Jobs wanted Pandora highlighted. So he asked Tim to join Apple’s presentation to show his product.
  • His future plans include expanding his business into the field of sports.
  • Today Pandora comprises of 78.1 million active users, advertisers like Microsoft and Lexus, a database of 500,000 songs and $30 million funding.

Don’t be shy about believing your ideas. Even if folks around you think you’re crazy.

The post is a part of a B’day Series where we celebrate the birthday of renowned personalities from Tech Industry, very frequently. The series includes Entrepreneurs, C-level Executives, innovators or a renewed leaders who moved the industry with his exponential skill set and vision. The intent is to highlight the person’s achievements and touch base the little known, but interesting, part of his life. You can see the list of all earlier celebrated tech personalities, including Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayor, Sean Parker, Andy Rubin, Julian Assange, Sir Richard Branson, Sergey Brin by following this link or subscribe to your daily newsletter.


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