Now celebrating its 30th year, ThinkFun is the world's leader in addictively fun games that ignite 21st-century thinking skills and give children an early advantage. ThinkFun games stimulate crucial brain development in logic, visual/spatial, math, language, focus, and reasoning - preparing kids for a world where math, engineering, coding, and creativity are of increasing importance. ThinkFun has received international acclaim for games like Rush Hour®, Zingo!®, Laser Maze™, Robot Turtles™, and Gravity Maze™, winner of the 2015 Specialty Toy of the Year. Its new lineup features the popular two-player Rush Hour® Shift as well as the highly anticipated Maker Studio™ Construction Sets, Compose Yourself™, and Code Master™.
ThinkFun was founded in 1985 by husband and wife team Bill Ritchie and Andrea Barthello with a mission to translate the brilliant ideas of the craziest mathematicians, engineers, and inventors into addictively fun games that can be appreciated by boys and girls around the world. Its broad range of games, brainteasers, and puzzles are breaking new ground in homes and on the web, garnering hundreds of awards and accolades, and serving millions of passionate fans in more than 50 countries.
Who We Are:
Bill Ritchie President & Co-Founder
Bill Ritchie is president and co-founder of ThinkFun®, Inc., the world’s leading developer of addictively fun games that sharpen your mind. He is a lifelong puzzle enthusiast whose passion drives the development of ThinkFun's innovative products and education programs.
As a child in the 1960s, Bill played with as many puzzles and science toys he could get his hands on. Thanks to his father, a researcher at Bell Labs, Bill was also privy to intriguing concepts that never made it onto store shelves.
In 1985, Bill and his wife Andrea Barthello founded ThinkFun, originally called Binary Arts, with a noble mission: "To translate the brilliant ideas of mathematicians, engineers and inventors into simple toys that can be appreciated by boys and girls around the world." It is a mission that continues to drive the company today.
Bill believes fiercely in the power of a great game to strengthen thinking skills and prepare kids for the challenges of the 21st century. His pioneering efforts have led the development of innovative programs that stretch and sharpen the mind, and his partnerships with researchers and inspired educators all over the world are an important part of furthering this vision. He continues to push into new arenas, including the development of mobile apps and online gaming and learning communities.
Bill is a respected member of the international puzzle community and travels worldwide to share his knowledge, connect with fellow enthusiasts, and discover the next great game. He is a member of the World Presidents Organization and the founding President of the World Entrepreneur Organization. He was the recipient of the "Sam Loyd Award for Lifetime Achievement in Mechanical Puzzles" from the Association of Game and Puzzle Collectors and a featured speaker at TEDx.
Bill earned a degree in American Studies from Wesleyan University and a Masters in City Regional Planning from Harvard University. He and his wife Andrea live in Alexandria, Virginia, with a vintage car on their front lawn modeled after ThinkFun’s internationally acclaimed Rush Hour.
Andrea Barthello, Chief Operating Officer & Co-Founder
Andrea Barthello is chief operating officer and co-founder of ThinkFun®, Inc., the world’s leading developer of addictively fun games that ignite 21st century thinking skills in preschoolers to adults. Her reputation for creative problem solving, talent spotting and nurturing of young minds distinguish her as a leader in the toy industry and as a role model for entrepreneurs everywhere.
Growing up in a big Air Force family, Andrea traversed the United States and Canada in frequent moves that taught her flexibility, the importance of family and a roll-up-your-sleeves work ethic. Early in her career, Andrea put herself through college while working full time, attended graduate school at night, and sharpened her business skills in industries ranging from healthcare to hospitality to finance.
In 1985, Andrea’s career took a life-changing turn when she and her husband Bill Ritchie launched ThinkFun (then Binary Arts) as part of a dream to change the world through play. The budding company’s introduction of the handcrafted, wooden Hexadecimal Puzzle created a new category of games geared to challenge the mind, and Andrea’s entrepreneurial instincts were put to the test. She directed sales and shipping, marketing and PR, and accounting and administration while building strategic relationships and mapping a blueprint for growth.
Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, ThinkFun has come a long way since its beginnings in the basement of Andrea and Bill’s home. Today, with a staff of 35, shipping operations in Pennsylvania and bustling headquarters in Northern Virginia, Andrea continues to wear many hats as the company expands to more than 50 countries and 5,500 retailers to serve millions of passionate fans worldwide. Her belief in the power of problem solving as a conduit for adventure, accomplishment and lifelong learning has fueled international acclaim and accolades for beloved games such as Rush Hour, Zingo!, Laser Maze, Robot Turtles and Gravity Maze.
Previously a member of the board of directors of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, Andrea is enjoying her second term as a board member of the Toy Industry Association and was honored as one of the region’s most influential women by the Washington Business Journal.
Andrea earned her Bachelor of Science degree from George Mason University and pursued graduate studies in Public Relations at American University. She is the proud mother of two grown sons Sam and Michael, and the “American mom” of William Kamkwamba, a remarkable young man from Malawi. Her family remains her most adored responsibility and a consistent source of new ideas and passions.