Bindiya Vakil

Resilinc CEO and co-founder Bindiya Vakil is credited with bringing supply chain risk management into the mainstream.

Bindiya has helped transform the way that global organisations approach supply chain visibility and risk; driving them to shift from reactively addressing catastrophic supply chain events to putting preventative solutions in place through monitoring, mapping, and planning. She is a founding member of the Global Supply Chain Resiliency Council and a member of the Advisory Board of MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics.

Vakil holds a master’s degree in supply chain management from MIT and an MBA in Finance. She was named Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s inaugural Woman of the Year and has appeared on nationally syndicated TV, radio and print media speaking on the topic of supply chain resiliency.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

Since gaining a master’s degree in Supply Chain Management from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2005 and an MBA in Finance, I have worked as a practitioner in high-tech supply chain management over the past 20 years with companies including Cisco, Flextronics and Broadcom.

In 2010, I founded Resilinc with the purpose to strengthen global supply chains, making them resilient, transparent, sustainable and secure. Through our technology-driven solutions, we create an ecosystem where organisations have unmatched visibility into their supply networks and can collaborate with their suppliers in a transparent environment.

Additionally, I am the founding member of the Global Supply Chain Resiliency Council and I also sit on the Advisory Board of the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

When raising money to start Resilinc, there were many factors that could have stopped me from being successful, including being a female founder in a male dominated sector. However, I think my biggest challenge was actually getting people to buy into our concept and the importance of investing in supply chain risk management. We’d had the financial crash of 2008, a major tsunami, and other global events that caused disruption, but supply chain resiliency still wasn’t up there at the board level as a mission critical consideration. It still took the pandemic to really make people wake up and realise the paralysing impact of a disrupted  supply chain.

Fortunately, we had a strong belief in the immense value of  our product, which ultimately turned the many No’s into a Yes. Ultimately, we found the industry leaders and change agents that believed in our ability to create a ‘Gold Standard’ for supply chain mapping, monitoring, visibility and collaboration. I will forever be grateful to all my seed, venture, and angel and institutional investors who believed in me and the team at Resilinc.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Beyond actually making Resilinc a reality and securing the funding we needed it would have to be changing mindsets around supply chain resiliency and what is possible.

Trying to convince people that there really was a better way for companies to build resilience in the supply chain was no easy task. Our vision for a collaborative, open relationship between suppliers and companies built on shared information and systems attracted significant scepticism. Fortunately, with a few key organisations coming on board and forward-thinking suppliers open to sharing information, we were able to prove those in doubt wrong.

In fact, by the start of the pandemic some of our original sceptics were glad of the decade of mapping, insights and data we already had under our belts. I remember one investor saying to me ‘Bindiya, if there hadn’t been a Resilinc in 2020, someone would have had to invent it’.

What top tips would you give to a woman who is trying to excel as a technology entrepreneur?

I would say to anyone, male or female, trying to forge a career in technology to live for the Yes’.

Pitching out your idea and trying to secure investment to get your business off the ground can feel like a never-ending round of rejections. I was told by a learned friend who’d been through the same process to expect 30 No’s before getting a Yes.

As it turned out, I went way beyond the 30 mark, even the 45 and 60 mark before getting my first Yes. Of course it was tough and there were times I felt like giving up, but if you have belief and conviction in your proposition you just keep going. I knew Resilinc was viable, I just had to knock on enough doors to find the right people who understood what I was trying to do and were as excited by my vision as I was.

I guess the learning here is not to let someone else define your path, don’t let someone else’s No stop you from achieving your goals. Keep going till you find the Yes’s.

Do you believe there are still barriers to success for women working in tech – if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

I think oftentimes the barriers people face in achieving their career goals can be self-imposed. It’s so easy to lose faith and give yourself ten reasons why you can’t do something rather than focus on why you can and should and how you’ll seize the opportunity.

Technology is a good example of where people are often quick to find excuses for not trying something new. In the pandemic we had no choice but to get on board with remote working technologies and make it work. Now we’re wondering why we didn’t do it sooner and are reaping the benefits of less business travel and a better work life balance.

It comes down to how you look at things – rather than seeing a barrier, see an opportunity,  you might just surprise yourself.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Surrounding myself with a hugely talented team of people who share my passion for Resilinc’s vision and solutions has been a huge part of my success. Some of my most valued advisors and team members have been with me since day one, diligently working away to share our vision. Experiencing the highs and lows with me along the way.

On the really tough days, we’ve been there for each other. When one team member feels like they’ve had enough, another will pick them up. There were times in the early days where I felt overwhelmed, but the support and inspiration from my team kept me going. Without them I wouldn’t be here and nor would Resilinc.