Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

100 fastest growing inner city businesses

2. Pandora Internet Radio
2. Pandora Internet Radio
Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy
2009 Revenues: $50.3 million
5-year Annual Growth Rate: 135%

Joe Kennedy
Location: Oakland, CA
Year Founded: 2000

About the business:
Without musician and composer Tim Westergen, there would be no Pandora. Although his original company, Savage Beast Technologies, didn't survive, his plan to personalize the consumers' music listening experiences is at the root of the Pandora we know today. In 2004, with the help of $9 million in capital, the company restructured itself and blossomed into a personalized radio station.

Pandora, however, has its fair share of financial challenges. Revenue is primarily reliant on ads, and on top of that, they are required to pay very high licensing fees for the songs they play. With that said, they have created a loyal cohort of 75 million users, giving them a platform to expand to mobile devices, automobiles, and generate more hits on their online website.

Through thick and thin, the company has stayed true to Oakland, California, citing the access to solid talent as a major reason it has stayed. When they outgrew their offices a year and a half ago, they moved across the street.

--By Ashley Bush and Christina Li

The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) defines inner cities as core urban areas with higher unemployment and poverty rates and lower median incomes than their surrounding metropolitan statistical areas. For the 2011 list, ICIC received more than 2,000 solicited nominations using its database of small businesses and through the support of its nominating partners, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Staples, and the Small Business Administration. Companies were ranked by compound annual growth rate (CAGR) based on their revenue over the five-year period between 2005 and 2009 (the last year for which complete data was available).
Last updated May 18 2011: 5:14 PM ET
Join the Conversation

The companies on this year's Inner City 100 have managed to build fast-growing businesses in economically depressed cities. Here's how they are doing it. More

Terracycle got its start selling worm poop as fertilizer to the likes of Home Depot and Wal-Mart and has since turned itself into a burgeoning trash-to-treasure emporium. More

Search for Jobs