Having read the latest HiFi-news tale of the Audiolab brand, I have to say that various Hi-Fi brands entrepreneurship is an inspiration. One of the engineers starting Audiolab had to sell his car to create the tools for the well known 8000A knobs.
They would have got jobs designing great hi-fi for other companies instead. (As they already had when helping Farad Azima to develop the Mission 710, 720 and 730 range before starting their own company.)
How can people leave pension plans and a steady monthly income to pursue some dream? In the current DAC race, it is probably not a good idea, far too many designs in the market. The class D amplifiers would be one niche left. Have seen class D chips from B&O offspring, some Philips offspring and Texas Instruments. Anyway, it is nice to see people come into the race track with some new and successful design.
Or cashing in on the knowledge, experience and knowhow gained from, or developed while they wokred at, their former employer. Still, probably not illegal unless they are using industrial property rights or proprietory knowhow without consent