Jessica Rovello and Kenny Rosenblatt met when they were working together at a tech company. By 2001 they were dating, and it went so well they decided to start a company together to develop online games. It has since grown into a small powerhouse that creates visual and interactive content and games for digital publishers and brands such as Microsoft, the Washington Post and CNN. The company’s latest product is InHabit, an innovative online tool that enables publishers to integrate interactive infographics into their news stories.
“Our mission is to create infinite possibilities for our partners and ourselves by reinventing content,” Rovello says. That is, they create new content like InHabit, or put a new twist on evergreen games like mah-jongg. Today, Rovello serves as CEO of Arkadium while Rosenblatt is president. They were married in 2004.
In 2005, they opened a gaming studio in Ukraine, where the cost of doing business was substantially lower than in the U.S., and it eventually grew to have 100 employees. The company was growing healthily—Arkadium had received a $5 million Series A investment in 2013—when the Russian Federation invaded the Crimean Peninsula, then part of Ukraine. That was more than a small bump in the road, since the U.S. soon announced sanctions that made it a crime for American companies to do business in Crimea. “We were either gonna survive or we weren’t,” Rovello says.
Arkadium ended up finding a solution by moving the studio, with all its employees who could make the move, to Krasnodar in southern