Empowering Voices to Share Their Stories Through Podcasting



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INNOVATE® Washington DMV Edition

In a world where storytelling has the power to inspire, educate, and connect people, two Georgetown MBA students, Dumi and Paul, have embarked on a mission to democratize the podcasting medium with their innovative startup, Shanda Studio. Born out of Dumi’s personal experience growing up in Zimbabwe, where media freedom was stifled, and diverse local stories were scarce, Shanda Studio aims to simplify the podcasting process, making it accessible to beginners who wish to amplify their voices and share their unique perspectives.

Dumi Mabhena

Dumi’s journey to create Shanda Studio began with a desire to showcase the positive change-makers in his community, countering the negative narratives often portrayed. Despite initial setbacks, such as a stolen camera, the advent of technology and the rise of podcasting presented a new opportunity. During the lockdown, Dumi launched “Zimbabwean Voices,” a podcast that featured inspiring individuals shaping their community for the better. The show garnered a dedicated audience and provided a sense of fulfillment for both Dumi and his listeners.

However, Dumi quickly realized that the learning curve for podcast editing was steep, a sentiment echoed by many aspiring podcasters. Research revealed that 75% of new podcasters don’t surpass 3 to 5 episodes due to the fatigue caused by the numerous micro-tasks involved in the process, particularly editing. Recognizing this pain point, Dumi reached out to his friend Paul, whom he had met while studying for their undergraduate degrees in Scotland. Paul, now a fellow Georgetown MBA student with a background in software engineering and product management, shared Dumi’s vision, and together they set out to create a solution.

Shanda Studio was born as a software solution designed to simplify the editing process for beginners. The startup’s name, derived from a Zimbabwean word meaning “to work in order to achieve something” and “to function,” embodies their mission to work hard in democratizing podcasting and help convert people’s stories into polished podcasts. By eliminating the complexities of traditional audio editing, Shanda Studio provides an affordable and user-friendly platform for anyone looking to start a podcast, whether they are professors, students, club leaders, or simply individuals with a unique perspective to share.

Paul Kassar

The team’s diverse backgrounds and complementary skills have been instrumental in bringing Shanda Studio to life. Dumi’s entrepreneurial spirit, and sales expertise, combined with Paul’s technical prowess and ability to distill complex problems into simplified solutions, have created a powerful partnership. The startup has also benefited from the support of the Georgetown community, including the Georgetown Ventures Club’s launchpad program, the venture accelerator program, and grant funding through an MBA startup fellowship, Bark Tank, and winning the Rocket Pitch competition.

Shanda Studio has already made signifi cant strides in its mission to democratize podcasting, particularly among college students. The platform has successfully launched and is gaining traction, with numerous college students not only using the platform but also becoming paying customers. This early success validates Shanda Studio’s vision and highlights the demand for a user-friendly, all-in-one podcasting solution.

Dumi and Paul, the founders of Shanda Studio, strategically chose the Georgetown community as their initial target audience. The university’s vibrant and engaged student body, known for its diverse range of opinions and perspectives, provided the perfect testing ground for the platform. By empowering these students to easily create and share their podcasts, Shanda Studio has fostered a culture of storytelling, dialogue, and understanding within the Georgetown community.

As Shanda Studio continues to grow and evolve, the company plans to build upon its success at Georgetown and expand its reach to other college communities. By focusing on the unique needs and interests of college students, Shanda Studio is not only cultivating a new generation of podcasters but also creating a platform for meaningful conversations and the exchange of ideas. With its proven track record and growing user base, Shanda Studio is well-positioned to scale its operations and bring its innovative podcasting solution to a wider audience.

Whether you have a passion for social justice, a love for the arts, or simply a desire to share your experiences, Shanda Studio provides the tools to make your voice heard. In a world where everyone has a story to tell, Shanda Studio is revolutionizing the way we share our narratives.

By empowering beginners to create podcasts with ease, Dumi and Paul are not only democratizing the medium but also fostering a global community of storytellers.

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