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Brexit could change the rules of the game for tech investors, says VC

As uncertainty following Brexit weighs on technology stocks, the normal Wall Street "checklist" may not be enough for technology investors in the long term, one expert said.

Britain's vote to leave the European Union last week could symbolize an erosion of globalization that upends the way technology investors perceive risk, Roger McNamee, co-founder of Elevation Partners, told CNBC's "Squawk Alley" on Monday.

"Brexit is by far the largest mass action against globalization that we've seen," McNamee said. "This is a big deal because, to me, the people who run the various countries of the world — people who run businesses — are very used to this post-World War II environment where globalizaition really is the entire engine of growth of the entire world economy. That is clearly running into political opposition and that may change the game structurally in ways that we need to at least add in to our risk models."

An employee looks at financial data on computer screens, in front of a view of The Shard building, on the trading floor at Bats Europe, the European arm of Bats Global Markets Inc., in London, U.K.
Jason Alden | Bloomberg | Getty Images
An employee looks at financial data on computer screens, in front of a view of The Shard building, on the trading floor at Bats Europe, the European arm of Bats Global Markets Inc., in London, U.K.

Stocks in the U.S. technology sector fell 2 percent Monday, following the Nasdaq lower as markets digested political uncertainty in U.K. The vote to separate the global financial center of London from the European Union came as technology companies increasingly look internationally. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, for instance, emphasized the power of global connectivity in a panel Friday.

Technology analysts had mixed responses to the Brexit news: UBS analyst Eric Sheridan wrote that there looked to be limited impact on internet company sales in the 2016 and 2017 fiscal year. But recession in Europe could hurt the growth of advertising for companies like Facebook, warned Needham analyst Laura Martin.

"I think this is a moment where we need to look at factors we normally ignore as investors," McNamee said. "Typically people assume that politics will take care of itself, and in the end won't really address the world economy. ... I think this distrust of leadership — not just in government, but also in business, religion and all these other major sectors of the economy — that distrust is now manifesting itself in ways that may actually change the rules of the game of how the economy works."

While the markets will adjust to a new paradigm of globalization, it's not something that investors have worried about over the past 50 years, McNamee said. For instance, left unbalanced with the U.S. and U.K. regulations, Europe's stricter stance on privacy could limit opportunities for companies like Google, he said.

"As investors, we can figure out strategies to leverage in the short-term what's going on in Europe right now," McNamee said. "What I don't think we can protect ourselves against is if the political environment shifts and every year we reduce the level of globalization."

Disclosure: Facebook is part of Elevation Partners' portfolio.