As a response to the new coronavirus outbreak, instead of hosting an in-person format in Paris the organizers of BIO-Europe Spring took the decision to deliver it as a full digital event. Anna Chrisman, Group Managing Director, explains all about the outcome of the event.
Is this meeting, to your knowledge, the only partnering meeting ever to be done this way?
“Yes. To our knowledge this is the first large scale partnering event done digitally. We felt strongly that BIO-Europe Spring was important as an event, where deal discussions are initiated for the rest of the year. At the time we made the decision, partnering activity was already in full swing, and we knew based on the data that our attendees were relying on BIO-Europe Spring for their deal flow.”
What have been the challenges with virtual partnering meetings?
“Setting up a virtual meeting platform in 16 days and very quickly figuring out adequate ways to support the objectives of our attendees and the sponsors and exhibitors as well. Most delegates had great experiences with the meeting system. There are understandably some localized glitches that are to do with the personal internet connections of meeting participants, but our team has been able to solve many of those.”
What have been the advantages?
“By extending the conference for the whole week, many people in time zones across the world have been able to meet. Also, we have received positive feedback around being able to do it all – usually our attendees often have to choose between attending presentations or panel discussions and conducting partnering meetings. In this format they can do it all on their own schedule.”
What kind of company feedback have you received?
“Some people were skeptical about the virtual format at first. If you have been to an EBD event, you will know that we create an environment that’s very conducive to informal networking, so there was some disappointment that these elements wouldn’t transfer to a digital format. But in the end, the main value is in partnering, and the sentiment has shifted very quickly, as we are all coming to terms with the fact that most of our interactions are going to be virtual for a while. This week we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback for keeping communication in this community afloat.”
The next BIO-Europe Spring will hopefully be held in Barcelona, Spain, March 22-24, 2021