Hello, Portland startup community! I’m Nik Kotov


Nik is a self-taught engineer, an immigrant from Russia who grew up in the United States. He started fixing computers for friends and family at the age of eleven and began working full-time in IT at 15. Since then, Nik has transitioned from doing IT support to cloud engineering and DevOps, and onto founding several businesses.

In 2019, Nik launched Atomized and was accepted into the Y Combinator Summer 2020 batch as a first-time applicant and solo founder. Unfortunately, the company ultimately shut down (full recap here: https://medium.com/@nkotov/why-my-first-yc-backed-startup-failed-b1fe1fc7232b).

Since the closure of Atomized, Nik has shifted his focus to providing startup advisory services to various startups, primarily focusing on helping to establish a product vision through the lens of customer success. He is also an angel investor who invests in pre-seed rounds.

What are you up to…?

I enjoy building ideas that spark my curiosity, and I am passionate about seeing local startups succeed.

Currently, I am deeply involved in developing Alderlake Capital. Our primary services at Alderlake include startup advisory and a mini, in-house venture studio. We don’t have a website yet, but we plan to launch one soon.

Regarding startup advisory, my ambition is to see startups triumph, especially those outside of San Francisco or New York City. I assist with a range of services, from making meaningful introductions to investors and helping to shape product visions through the lens of customer success, to providing operational advice. Essentially, I act as an extension of the founding team, offering a sounding board for ideas to help gain clarity and momentum.

As for our in-house venture studio, we all harbor ideas we’re eager to explore. My list has grown to over 50 potential projects. While most of these ideas may not be suitable for venture capital, they have the potential to become successful small to medium-sized, profitable businesses. At Alderlake, I’m actively developing a portfolio of small SaaS projects, which I initially started on my own and am now expanding with a small team. Additionally, we are acquiring small projects with solid foundations that likely haven’t been marketed effectively.

On a new note for me, I am beginning to delve into angel investing. By simply providing support to remarkable startups, I’ve generated a significant deal flow, which often presents opportunities for investment.

I firmly believe that everything in life compounds. To me, the most effective path to success is giving back to others.

When I was 15, someone gave me an opportunity to work full-time at an IT help desk, despite my lack of qualifications. At 19, I was offered a chance to take on a ‘professional’ job when I lacked the formal education and skills. When I was 26, I reached out to several Y Combinator alumni for assistance with my YC application and each one responded positively, all because someone else had helped them reach their current positions. Now, I aim to do the same for others.

Why Portland?

The amusing aspect about my lifestyle is that I live in Portland part-time. To be precise, my family and I spend our summers there. The rest of the year, I reside in Charlotte, NC, but I make it a point to fly out to Portland every few months for both business and leisure.

My recurring returns to Portland are motivated by a few straightforward reasons: I have an affinity for the natural beauty surrounding the city, I’m a fan of the local eateries, and perhaps most significantly, I appreciate the diverse and interesting mix of people that one encounters there from different walks of life.

Moreover, the name “Alderlake” is inspired by my favorite spot for camping and boating—Alder Lake in Eatonville, Washington.


Interested in being featured?

Silicon Florist introduces you to awesome people in the Portland startup community. If you’re interested in being one of those folks, please let us know a little bit more about you and you’ll be selected at random to be featured.