Tech Industry

Actor Jared Leto relishes role as tech-savvy investor

The actor credits the now-defunct Napster music-sharing network with spurring his interest in tech.

 Actor Jared Leto during a visit to the SiriusXM Studios in New York City in September.
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Jared Leto is known to many as an Oscar-winning actor, but he's also a longtime tech investor who regularly cold calls perspective companies he's thinking of investing in.

Leto, who won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his role in the 2013 movie "Dallas Buyers Club," most recently appeared in "Blade Runner 2049" and is the lead singer of the band, Thirty Seconds to Mars. He is also a familiar face in Silicon Valley, thanks to his investments in such startups as Spotify, Uber and Airbnb.

When it comes to investing, Leto looks for "companies that are changing the way that we behave, founders or CEOs that are incredibly passionate, smart geniuses," Leto said Wednesday during an onstage interview at the Wall Street Journal's D.Luxe fashion and technology conference.

Leto's interest in tech stems from his experience years ago with his band, which grew in popularity as Napster users shared its music on the now-defunct peer-to-peer network. He said his band was also one of the first itself online.

"When you're a musician, you have to become a digital expert or you die," Leto said.  

While Leto's portfolio includes a stable of successful startups, he's not without tales of missed opportunities. He said he met with Instagram four days before Facebook announced it was purchasing the photo-sharing site in 2012.

"They all had huge smiles on their faces," he said. "I thought, 'Wow, the culture here must be amazing.'"

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