For most of its 10 years, it has been on the verge of death, struggling to find investors and battling record labels over royalties. Had Pandora died, it would have joined myriad music start-ups in the tech company graveyard, like SpiralFrog and the original Napster. Instead, with a successful iPhone app fueling interest, Pandora is attracting attention from investment bankers who think it could go public, the pinnacle of success for a start-up.
Pandora’s 48 million users tune in an average 11.6 hours a month. That could increase as Pandora strikes deals with the makers of cars, televisions and stereos that could one day, Pandora hopes, make it as ubiquitous as AM/FM radio.
“We were in a pretty deep dark hole for a long time,” said Mr. Westergren, who is now the company’s chief strategy officer.. “But now it’s a pretty out-of-body experience.”