The online format worked (mostly) well, particularly the first half - which was also the more interesting. As for goodies, I have my own kitchen just downstairs, and much enjoyed a good cuppa - and for less than the cost of travel to a London event I could buy myself a year's supply of goodies. Numbers were higher than for a physical meeting, and quite a few investors shared my preference for the online form.
They made the sensible decision not to share regular users' cameras and microphones, but to beam us the speakers and provide text chat for interaction. At the end of the first half they responded to questions raised in chat, including mine. In the second half they disabled chat, which I think detracted from it.
The first half gave us an intro from Malcolm Moss, and presentations from Stuart Veale and Karen McCormick, interspersed with recorded presentations from investees (the latter left me cold - just have to hope they benefit my bank balance in due course, and one of them was the purest cliché-machine I think I've ever witnessed). Veale gave us a lot of graphs and figures: lots of big exits around 2-3 years ago leading to quite a substantial return of capital - big divis at the expense of NAV (some investors challenged him on that in chat). Current situation is that a large proportion of the portfolios are newer investments, so he's holding out the carrot of Good Times ahead as those mature. McCormick presented Beringea as a pillar of Political Correctness, to the point of having some activities from which you're actually barred if you have the misfortune of being white and male.
At the end of the first half came the Q&A, addressing questions from the text chat. This worked rather more smoothly than at a typical in-the-flesh event, and on balance they did a pretty fair job of addressing the actual questions as opposed to the politicians approach of answering a set of questions they had prepared. Though there was nothing too surprising, so they were no doubt prepared for more-or-less these questions anyway. On mine (as posted here yesterday), there's not too much overlap between Beringea and other VCTs (but that answer was vague, and I regret the inability to press them on it), and on Equity Crowdfunding it's complementary to what VCTs offer and the two can serve different purposes for investees (yes, that's my expectation too - at least for now). A certain Steve pressed them on charges: they said (unconvincingly) theirs were below industry average, ignored the question on charges on cash piles, but pointed out more convincingly that VCT investments take a lot more effort than investing in quoted companies.
The second half gave us live investee presentations (one of them also from the first half - she repeated herself somewhat), followed by two "fireside chats" - one involving the two investee founders, the other involving Beringea investment folks/NEDs to investees. I shall leave it to others to report on those.