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50 Fastest Growing Companies of the Year 2023

The innovator behind the world's first and only flexible window screen: FlexScreen


FlexScreen is an industry disruptor and the world's first and only flexible window screen. Founded in 2015 by Inventor and CEO Joe Altieri, FlexScreen was created to solve all of the issues with the century-old technology of aluminum window screens: no aluminum, no paint, no hardware, and no hassle. Just flex the high-performance, PVC-coated spring steel frame, slide it into the window screen pocket (where it will virtually disappear) and enjoy the uninterrupted view. FlexScreen is innovative, effortless, durable, and beautiful.

FlexScreen owns 13 patents on its award-winning product and technology. No other window screen in the world flexes, has no attachment hardware, and is held by tension in the window frame. Since FlexScreen’s introduction into the marketplace, FlexScreen has gained international attention and earned multiple industry awards, drawing interest and eventual partnerships with powerhouse entities, including Global 500 technical textiles giant, Saint Gobain, whose ADFORS division has exclusive rights in the space, and American television personality, inventor, and entrepreneur, Lori Greiner (Shark Tank investor and Queen of QVC), who is now an equity partner.

In conversation with Joe Altieri, CEO of FlexScreen

Q. What materials do you use to make your screens? How eco-friendly and sustainable are they?

The core of the FlexScreen frame is made of phosphate-enhanced, high-carbon, and oil-tempered spring steel, the same material found in garage door springs and car shock absorbers. The frame is coated with exterior-grade, high-performance Duralloy PVC - the same material on metal outdoor park benches and dishwasher racks.

Q. Brief us about the different kinds of mesh you produce. And about FlexScreen bond's tensile strength?

All of our mesh options feature strong and durable insect screening material woven from permanent glass yarn coated with a protective vinyl. They include everything from small insect to solar and hydrophobic self-cleaning options. We use a heat bonding process to weld the mesh to the frame, creating an exceptionally strong bond.

We are particularly proud that we've worked with our partners at Saint Gobain to develop our own proprietary mesh to achieve the best possible bond with our frames, and every option is free from ortho-phthalates. This dangerous chemical has been banned from children's toys, and there is a push to ban it from other household products worldwide. We are currently the only window screen company offering phthalate-free mesh options.

Q. Despite the availability of a number of cutting-edge technologies, why do you continue to produce your window screens using conventional screen technology?

We don't now - nor have we ever - used conventional window screen technology. In fact, we recently partnered with the premier automation company in the industry to create the world's first and only automated window screen line. This award-winning innovation allows us to license our technology to window manufacturers for the first time. It produces at a mind-blowing rate and requires a fraction of the space and workforce that used to be required. It's a game-changer - not only for us but for the entire window industry.

Q. What have been your most effective marketing strategies and how do you go about marketing your company?

We are all about making the most of free online platforms. Our industry is known for being very traditional and somewhat "old." But we have a very young team of creatives coming up with some pretty out-there ideas. The post that caught Shark Tank's attention was a comical video of our Inventor & CEO showing the durability of our product by beating it with a hammer. Some sound advice is to share everything on every social platform all the time. Don't worry about it being perfect - just put it out there. Engage with your audience by liking and responding to their comments. Add value with helpful blogs and articles that coincide with your product. And seek out opportunities to showcase your industry knowledge.

Q. What was the outcome of your Shark Tank pitch? How did it impact your bottom line?

Our growth exploded after our Shark Tank™ experience - so much so that we were featured in a Shark Tank™ update segment the following season. The year before pitching to the Sharks, we did 5.1 million in sales, and the year after our appearance, sales tripled to over 15 million. Since then, we have continued on that trajectory and currently have seven manufacturing locations across the US and Canada.

Q. Describe your "Screens Save Lives" project in more detail. How does it safeguard individuals from deadliest diseases like dengue and malaria?

We are working on partnering with existing foundations to get this project off the ground and exploring options to expand to other charities as well. "Generous" is one of our company's core values, and we look forward to launching our best version of a give-back program soon.

Q. Given how frequently circumstances change, what plans for transformation are you pursuing to remain relevant now and in the future?

Change and innovation are the DNA of FlexScreen. Good enough is never good enough and we are constantly looking toward what's next. As more and more window dealers and manufacturers continue to make FlexScreen standard in some or all of their products, we are well on our way to revolutionizing the window industry.

Meet the leader behind the success of FlexScreen

FlexScreen Inventor and CEO Joe Altieri is a lifelong innovator, entrepreneur, and problem solver who turned his cutting-edge invention into a thriving multi-million-dollar company.

A third-generation entrepreneur, Joe learned the value of creating outstanding teams and healthy organizational cultures from his father and grandfather. He is generous with his resources and time and has been recognized as an Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, a Pittsburgh Smart50 Honoree, and one of Pittsburgh's Volunteers of the Year. Joe is a podcast host, a speaker, and a regular contributor to industry and business publications, including Forbes. He is passionate about freely sharing what he's learned to help build up and empower others.

Joe married his high school sweetheart, Alisha, and they have four children, two of whom are married and have children of their own. They all still like each other enough to get together every Sunday for dinner, and Joe considers their healthy family life his most important and highest achievement.

“As more and more window dealers and manufacturers continue to make FlexScreen standard in some or all of their products, we are well on our way to revolutionizing the window industry.”