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Are we on the verge of another tech bubble bursting?

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Technology is booming in the Bay Area. But when does that boom become a bubble? (KGO-TV)

Technology is booming in the Bay Area. But when does that boom become a bubble? Entrepreneurs and investors tried to answer that on Wednesday at a summit held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

"Lots and lots of talk about being in a bubble, what's going on?" said Social Internet Fund Manager Lou Kerner.

That question was posed in a building full of old notebooks from when Intel was founded and the earliest prototypes of Google Glass.

In a museum that remembers the industry's high points, the Silicon Valley Innovation Summit discussed one of its low points.

"We saw a lot of companies 2 to 3 years old going public with very little revenue, business models that were very much in flux, and a lot of those business models didn't end up working out and they went to zero," Kerner said.

Some remember Webvan, which was valued at over $1 billion. It built massive warehouses promising same day grocery delivery. But two years after it went public, it was gone.

"When you look at the first bubble, you had basically 85 percent of the companies that went public were showing no profit. The companies today that go public are good companies," said AlwaysOn Founder and Editor Tony Perkins.

Perkins, a summit organizer and investor, says Silicon Valley has learned how to make money. And at least for the public companies, numbers back that up.

"We're clearly not in a tech bubble anything close to what was happening in 2000," said Kerner.

But whether or not you call it a bubble, there's no arguing one of the biggest sectors in this tech boom is the on-demand economy; the ability to summon just about anything at the touch of a button.

"It's fundamentally altered how people do things day in and day out and that's why they're catching on so quickly," said Auction.com President Jake Seid.

Unlike WebVan, today's on-demand services have customers with smartphones. There's Uber to get there and Airbnb to stay the night.

Alina Gordon, founder and CEO of Brisk, is serious about pets on-demand.

"They now have the option of borrowing a pet from their neighbor who's going out of town," she said.

And it goes on and on.

"I saw an app yesterday of an entrepreneur offering an on-demand garbage takeout," said Tom O'Malley with Convetit.

And these companies won't need to be asked this question that used to be common around here -- do you plan to make any money?

Related Topics:
technologybusinessstartupsilicon valleyjobsIPOMountain View
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