Our Team

Ken Woody  – Partner

As President of Innova, Ken leads our team focused on finding, funding and growing startup technology businesses in Tennessee and helps them achieve commercial success.  Using his extensive operations and sales background, he provides strategic guidance to portfolio companies both in times of need, as well as times of opportunity.  Ken currently serves on the boards for Cagenix, S2 Interactive, Tensor Surgical, ACT, and BioNova Medical. He was a Director for ExtraOrtho when it was acquired by Zimmer Orthopedics.

Before founding Innova Memphis, Ken was Senior Vice-President for Global Sales with Smith&Nephew Orthopedics. Prior to this role, he served as Vice President of Sales for DePuy Spine, a J&J Company. He worked for GE for more than 16 years, serving as a VP and General Manager in Healthcare and Capital businesses. Ken has enjoyed great success as an Army Officer, an entrepreneur and a Fortune 500 Executive. He has successfully owned and operated his own businesses and managed multi-billion dollar global enterprises.

He serves on the Entrepreneur Advisory Council at Vanderbilt University’s Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization, and as a Board Member at Tech 20/20. Ken is also part of the Advisory Panel of the Boyd Venture Challenge at UT Knoxville.

Ken received his BS as a pre-med student from North Carolina State University.

Jan Bouten – Partner

Jan joined Innova in 2010 after working with the Innova team in an advisory capacity. He is currently active on several Boards, inlcuding DEVCON, Glanris, Preteckt, SOMAVAC, SweetBio, and Swinetech. At his prior firm he was board member or observer at Digitalsmiths (acquired by TiVo), Mobile-Mind (acquired by: WorldCell), Resolute Games (acquired by Lokion), Nextreme Thermal (acquired by Laird Technologies) and Covelight (acquired by Radware).

His professional experience includes founder and executive of two startups, 10+ years of high tech industry experience in engineering, marketing and sales, and more than 15 years as a seed and early-stage VC. This solid, diversified experience base allows him to provide advice and mentoring to companies and entrepreneurs.

Prior to Innova, Jan spent 7 years at Aurora Funds, a $235MM seed- and early-stage venture capital firm based in Research Triangle Park, NC. Here, he was involved in negotiating, structuring and monitoring 11 investments, and was involved in 3 IPOs and 3 acquisitions in the healthcare and technology fields.

Bouten serves on the board of the FedEx Institute of Technology. He is a recognized expert in the field as a Wall Street Journal Startup Guru, as well as Master Mentor for LaunchTennessee.

Jan received his MBA from Duke University, and also holds a MS degree in Human-Computer Systems (AI & UX) from the United Kingdom, and a BS in Computer Science from The Netherlands.

Dean Didato – Partner

Before joining Innova as a partner in 2017, Dean had worked with the Innova team  on several due diligence projects focused on qualifying new technologies, patents, competition, and market acceptance. Prior to joining Innova he spent eight years as an international executive in the specialty chemical and bioengineering segment focused on food safety fields; Didato has extensive expertise in pathogen intervention mechanisms as they relate to food processing and consumer health. He currently serves on the Board of AgriSync, Beta Hatch, EarthSense, and HerdDogg, and also served on the Board of Growers before its acquisition by ICI Inc. in 2020.

He has worked with AgBio startups such as BioDimensions, Infinite Enzymes, BioNanovations, and most recently Secure Food Solutions, where he remains a Board Member. This experience gave him a wide span of knowledge ranging from remediation of bacterial spec and spot on crops, to enzyme manufacturing through genetically modified maize, to rapid aflatoxin detection using hyperspectral imaging. Didato has assisted startups orchestrate strategic plans to accelerate revenue growth, dramatically improving value propositions that have resulted in acquisitions, strategic alliances, or licensing opportunities.

Immediately prior to joining Innova, Dean was a Strategic Accounts Manager for The Vincit Group, one of the country’s largest providers of vertically integrated food safety solutions. During his 35+ years of professional experience he has held executive positions at Synergy Technologies, OmniLytics and Buckman Laboratories.
He was recognized by the Wall Street Journal and was featured in “Virtual Teams: People Working Across Boundaries with Technology ” by Jessica Lipnack.

Dean received a BS in Biology-Management from Marietta College. He also completed several post graduate management programs, including The Leadership Development Program at the Centers for Creative Leadership, and the Program on Negotiation at Harvard University.