Two Okaloosa Companies Among the 2018 50 Florida Companies to Watch

Created on September 21, 2018

The EDC of Okaloosa County and GrowFL are pleased to announce that Beast Code LLC and G.S. Gelato & Desserts, Inc. are among 50 statewide honorees selected for the 2018 Florida Companies to Watch.  These companies were selected from more than 500 nominees for the award, hosted by GrowFL, a statewide economic development organization, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation. 

The winning company’s management team, competitive market position and strong community involvement were among several factors that put them in contention for the award.   

“These stand-out companies are all led by entrepreneurs, and have demonstrated their capacity and intent to grow,” said Dr. Tom O’Neal, GrowFL executive director.  “They also all have critical intellectual property or a niche position that gives them a competitive edge in their markets,” he said.
"The EDC is delighted that two of Okaloosa County's shining entrepreneurial stars have been recognized with the prestigious Florida Companies to Watch recognition.  Beast Code and GS Gelato are great examples of innovative companies who are thriving in Okaloosa County," said Nathan Sparks, Executive Director of the Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County.
“We are honored to be among those outstanding businesses selected as a Florida Companies to Watch awardee. Beast Code was founded to transcend tradition and foster innovation, receiving this award is extremely validating for what we are doing at our company,” says Matthew Zimmermann, Beast Code’s CEO.

“We are very flattered to be recognized as one of the best companies in our own state;  we are very humbled as Florida became our home in 1996 when we move from Italy to realize our American Dream. This award is very close to our heart as we have poured our entire life in growing our company. A special Thank You is to our Great Team as GS Gelato has become a big Family, and a special acknowledgement is for all the Fantastic people that supported us through these many years, believing in us and our vision,” said Simona Faroni, Co-Founder of GS Gelato.

“This is a strong group of companies that deserve this special recognition given annually to the state's top second stage companies,” said Dr. Chris Morton, GrowFL Chairman of the GrowFL Advisory Board, CEO of NanoPhotonica and a 2015 Florida Companies to Watch honoree.  Second-stage companies are defined as those with 6 to 150 full-time employees and between $750,000 and $100 million in annual revenue. There are many programs and incubators promoting start-up businesses; GrowFL is the only Florida program that focuses exclusively on second-stage companies.
The 50 companies named the 2018 Florida Companies to Watch generated nearly $1 billion in revenue and added nearly 1,000 jobs between 2014 and 2017.

Together, the companies project a 50 percent increase in revenue and 40 percent increase in job growth in 2018 compared to 2017.

Companies named to the list will be officially recognized February 9, 2019 at the Straz Performing Arts Center in Tampa, FL.  Tickets are on sale now for the awards ceremony. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Northwest Florida nominees on the Florida Companies to Watch list are:
  • Beast Code, LLC, Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa, Computer Systems Design and Related Services
  • Digital Boardwalk, Inc., Pensacola, Escambia, Information Technology
  • G.S. Gelato & Desserts, Inc., Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa, Manufacturing


Legal Statement
© 2024, One Okaloosa EDC