In addition to his Oscar-winning career (Dallas Buyers Club) and his critically successful band, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Jared Leto has established himself as a savvy tech investor. To date, Leto has backed more than 70 companies in their early stages, including Slack, Spotify, Uber, and Snap, all of which have gone public in the last 15 months.

His key to making smart calls? Modesty, for starters.

[Photo: Claudio Lavenia/Getty Images for Fast Company]

“I love being the dumbest person in the room—that is a great place to be,” Leto said during Fast Company‘s European Innovation Festival. “I don’t have an incredible education, but I’ve always been very curious, so I read a lot. I ask a lot of questions, a lot of stupid questions, probably. And I love to learn. So investing in technology for me has been kind of a way to challenge myself, a way to grow.”

Over time, Leto said, he has progressed from feeling like “just a dumbass artist who dropped out of school” to someone who has value and a viewpoint to add to a growing company.

“I have 60 employees on the road for the band. And having a band is kinda like a startup,” Leto said. “You have a group of people and a garage around a computer using software to write songs and make an album. You’re very involved in the marketing and all the forward-facing stuff as a musician. The record company is kind of your venture capitalist, although your terms are backwards: They keep 80 [percent] and you get 20—if you’re lucky to see the 20 ever.”

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