Who We Are – ETW Advisors

Who We Are

ETW Advisors is a San Francisco-based startup advisory firm founded in 2014 by Jonathan Lowenhar. Our unique, hands-on approach to startup mentorship empowers founders to pick the right path. We provide informed counsel every step along the way, helping founders navigate the unknown in times of inevitable turbulence and uncertainty.

We come from a variety of backgrounds — consumer Internet, enterprise SAAS, finance, sales, and more. But one fact remains consistent for all of our advisors: we have deep and successful startup experience both as founders and as early stage operators.

Jonathan Lowenhar

Founder & Managing Partner


Throughout my 20 year career, I’ve successfully built a $1B business segment for a large public company, guided the turnaround of a distressed $100M+ revenue business, launched and sold a venture-backed startup, and led the rise of one of the world’s fastest growing B2B SaaS businesses.

My first career was in hospitality, where I served as the first VP of Loyalty Marketing for Harrah’s Entertainment and led the turnaround of a failing 3,000-employee hotel and casino company. In 2007, I founded my first startup, which I successfully sold after 4 years and several rounds of capital. Starting in 2012, I served as COO of Taulia, growing the business from seed to D in less than 3 years.

Since 2014, I have led ETW Advisors, a firm of expert early stage operators who have combined their considerable skills to advise the next generation of startups to launch, grow and reach scale. I founded ETW because I believed that the biggest positive impact I could have on the world would be to positively influence the next generation of startup entrepreneurs. I’ve dedicated my professional life to that end.

Anu Nigam

Managing Partner


Ever since I joined my first startup in 1996, I’ve enjoyed working with small, driven teams, helping to transform cutting edge technologies into real businesses. My first two startups revolutionized fiber-optic telecommunications, resulting in two acquisitions among the top 10 largest VC-backed M&A deals of all time. After the .com crash, I shifted my sights to consumer internet and started one of the world’s first social networks, hi5.com, which grew to 60M MAU. Later in my career I followed the explosion of smart phones to found an app discover site that organically attracted 15M installs.

Beyond my life as an operator, I was an active investor and mentor including serving as President of Sand Hill Angels in Palo Alto, CA. I’ve long recognized that good advice and mentorship are both more rare and precious than capital. That led me in 2017 to join ETW as a Managing Director and Partner.

Yanush Cherkis

General Partner


I’ve had a few careers in various industries, but independent of my functional roles, the most important skill I’ve mastered is the ability to ask good questions.

I’ve developed that skill over a 20 year career that has spanned banking, entrepreneurship, personal coaching and startup advising. I’ve helped start 6 businesses, including co-founding a software company that we built from start-up to a profitable multi-million-dollar global operation to a successful M&A exit.

I have my CPA license, multiple academic degrees and a professional coaching certification but above all else my greatest passions are mentoring my fellow entrepreneurs and volunteering at my kids’ schools.

Devan Batavia

General Partner


I love the early stage journey, particularly uncovering the magical intersection between what the market wants and how to sell it. There are so many open questions, different stakeholders, shifting variables – it’s like a game of chess where the right moves lead to rising revenues and happy customers.

I’ve had the good fortune of wearing many hats in my startup life from business development, to product management to sales. For the last 10+ years, I’ve built and led go-to-market teams for 3 organizations, one of which went public (Jive, valued at $1B+) and the other two still going strong. Building startups has fed my ambitions for years, and I joined ETW Advisors so that I could impact not just one startup, but rather a portfolio of them across the globe.

Saran Chari

Operating Partner


I came to SF in 1999 immediately after graduation to chase startup dreams. Initially working at a consulting firm that went under in the dotcom crash, I left to join an ed-tech startup where I ran the engineering team. After that company exited, I co-founded Flixster, a social movies app. We eventually acquired Rotten Tomatoes and sold the combined entity to Warner Bros in 2011. It was an amazing, challenging, and exhilarating journey.

Since then, I’ve been working as a CTO and Engineering advisor for technology leaders at early stage startups. Knowing how to recruit, hire, onboard, and manage a growing (and often global) engineering org is a skill all venture backed startups need to master. I’m here to help.

Brady Forrest

Operating Partner


My early career spanned nearly 15 years across Microsoft and O’Reilly Media before immersing myself in the startup ecosystem with successful stops at Khosla Ventures, 500 Startups, and as a cofounder of a Bay Area hardware accelerator Highway1. I was fortunate to help fund more than 75 startups (including notables such as Cue Health, Modbot, and Molekule). Along the way I co-authored a book O’Reilly’s The Hardware Startup and co-founded Ignite, an international talk series that has been held thousands of times across the stages of SXSW, Google, The Gates Foundation to the White House.

Kiki Wilson

Chief Logistics Hustler


I love complex problems – the more variables, the more moving parts, the more complexity the better. I’ve spent the vast majority of my career in administrative and operations roles supporting executives and teams across both large companies and small.and from consumer internet to healthcare. I joined ETW Advisors in 2016 because of the challenge. How best do you build an infrastructure to support a global portfolio of startups? We host events, curate content, build proprietary teaching materials and connect a team of advisors with a network of founders. There are endless details to consider and I’m fortunate enough to sit at the center of the machine.

Mochi Monster

Head of Security


Woof.