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By the time Andress Blackwell, then CEO of fast-growing sugar alternative brand Swerve reached out to Whipstitch Capital based on the advice of a trusted industry veteran, the company she led had been through multiple transformations. Based in New Orleans and founded in 2001, Swerve, known as the leading zero-calorie sugar replacement and used in carb-conscious bake mixes, had hit its stride. In a category dominated by tabletop sweeteners, Swerve emerged as the leading sugar alternative for non-beverages, utilizing a proprietary formula optimized for baking and cooking.

Swerve created a true “one-for-one” sugar replacement. If the recipe called for a cup of sugar, the consumer could use a cup of Swerve instead. And Swerve would also brown and caramelize, tasting nearly identical to what it looked to replace. With this unique offering, Andress led a fast-growing (150% four-year CAGR), highly profitable rocket-ship with category-leading velocities. Given success to date and long-term potential of Swerve, Andress realized the next chapter for the brand was best navigated by a strategic partner who could provide the appropriate resources and expertise. After speaking with several investment banks, Andress knew that Whipstitch was the right partner to help complete this journey.


With culture at the forefront of every decision, the Swerve team felt aligned with Whipstitch Capital’s entrepreneurial spirit. As Andress would say, “Whipstitch was not just an advisor, they became part of the ‘Swerve Family’”. Whipstitch’s better-for-you CPG expertise communicated Swerve’s unique story perfectly. That expertise coupled with the firm’s deep roster of buyer relationships had what it took to execute a successful transaction. In finding Whipstitch, Swerve met with several investment banks; however, after spending time with the Whipstitch team, they felt that culturally and from an expertise level, Whipstitch was the right fit for this important opportunity. 


Whipstitch ran a highly competitive process involving both financial and strategic buyers. Swerve’s market leadership in an on-trend category generated strong interest and led to multiple final bids during the COVID-19 crisis. Whole Earth Brands ultimately emerged as the final buyer, as Swerve filled a need for baking brands in its “free from” portfolio. Whipstitch worked hand-in-hand with the Swerve team to align the transaction structure with the company’s goals and ultimately finalized the deal at a valuation of 15x EBITDA.