What LinkedIn IPO Says About Future Tech Companies

The question at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York City: Did the LinkedIn IPO change the game in the world of tech start-ups and venture capital?

Among the masses gathered at Pier 94 right on the Hudson River, the short answer is yes.

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However, it's not like they're partying like it's 1999.

The venture capital world now knows that there actually has to be a business behind the idea. Revenue and revenue models are key in 2011.

"Now, you have real companies," said Thanasis Delistathis of New Atlantic Ventures, a VC firm in Washington, DC and Boston. "With LinkedIn , you can argue the valuation is aggressive—and it probably is—but it shows that there is a pent-up demand among investors that want to invest in these companies.

"The difference is that these are real companies. They are scaled up and they've been growing as private companies for many many years."

At the conference, there are 100 start-up companies on display, each vying for the attention of venture capitalists as well as a $50,000 seed-money prize.

In terms of development, some of the companies are in between LinkedIn and the hungry start-up newbie. Take Foursquare. It is a location-based social networking website that has over 8-million registered users, yet it's not yet close to going public.

Co-founder Dennis Crowley says LinkedIn's success doesn't change his approach or make him want to rush toward an IPO.

But it does help the perception of the business of social networking.

"What you're seeing from the Groupons and the Living Socials is that there's definitely a good market here," said Crowley who started something similar called Dodgeball a few years back, only to sell it to Google in 2005.

"And they are teaching a lot of local merchants, and so, we are going to be able to ride this wave."

If there's anything else to be gleaned from LinkedIn—from its pricing, to its run-up, to its pullback—it's that investors are craving for the opportunity to own a piece of a social-networking company.

"In a lot of ways, it helps everyone (in the start-up world)," said Michael Tavani, who co-founded Scoutmob, which is positioning itself as a better, more localized, alternative to Groupon "There's a lot of money flowing in.

"The IPO of Linked In helps a loy, and it shows that there is value."

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