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

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Being bankrupt to owning a multibillion-dollar company takes a lot of patience and hard work, and Tim Westergren has shown the world how to do it in style. Today we bring some interesting yet less known facts about Timothy Brooks Westergren, the co-founder of Pandora Radio.


Full Name: Timothy Brooks Westergren

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

Net Worth: $26 Million (as of 2017)

  • Music in his veins: Tim Westergren has had a passion for music since his childhood. His first love as a child was the piano, which he began playing at the age of seven. He also plays the bassoon, recorder, drums, and clarinet, among other instruments.
  • Tim Westergren graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Following graduation, Westergren worked as a record producer and composer for twenty years, with credits including The Last Best Sunday (1999), Down to Business (2021) and CBS This Morning (1992). He also worked as a nanny for 5 years in meanwhile.
  • In 2000, Tim Westergren co-founded ‘Savage Beast Technologies’ with Jon Kraft and Will Glaser. Originally, the company was conceived as a B2B company that would licence the Music Genome Project to retailers as a recommendation platform. The company shifted its focus to the consumer market in 2005, when Pandora, an internet radio subscription-based service, was launched.
  • The struggle: He maxed out his 11 credit cards, paid office rent with his chequebooks, and was sued by four of his employees for not paying their salaries. Surprisingly, Tim had no idea that deferring salary payment was illegal, as a result, his savings were spent on the settlements.
  • Believers: When the company ran out of cash in 2001, Tim persuaded 50 employees to work without pay for two years.
  • 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, but that didn’t work, so he switched to an ad-based revenue model.
  • Despite the fact that Tim Westergren used to consider Apple iTunes as a competitor, he admired Steve Jobs’ work tremendously. Tim was also invited to a developer preview of iPhone OS 4.0 at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, where he demonstrated how the Pandora streaming app used Apple’s new technology.
  • In May 2018, Tim Westergren stepped down as CEO of Pandora Media Inc.
  • In September 2019, Westergren co-founded another music company named Sessions (NEXT Music).

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 the Tech Industry, very frequently. The series includes Entrepreneurs, C-level Executives, innovators, or renewed leaders who moved the industry with their 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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