They were a group of securities traders and software geeks - some from the Illawarra - no older than 28 who left their jobs to set up a business using super-fast computer programs to make millions on the investment markets before human investors could blink.
The leap of faith landed the men on the BRW Young Rich List.
In three years of trading, two during the financial crisis, Bondi Junction's Tibra Capital reaped an impressive $148 million profit.
But the staggering success of the start-up - led by South Australian-born derivatives trader Dinesh ''Danny'' Bhandari - aroused the suspicion of the men's former employer, the Dutch-owned Optiver Australia in Hunter Street.
The result was a lengthy Federal Court battle over whether Bhandari and six of his associates took confidential information from Optiver to develop the lightning-fast trading programs that were the secret to their success.
After almost seven years of hard-fought preliminary skirmishes, the case settled quietly before a trial set for March 10. Tibra Capital is rumoured to have agreed to pay Optiver more than $10 million to drop the case. The agreement, which includes all but one of the seven men, was struck without any admission of guilt.
Bhandari, a one-time Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year whose fortune is estimated at $32 million in last year's Young Rich List, told Fairfax Media he was ''unable to comment'' on the confidential agreement.
But he was full of praise for Glenn Williamson, a fellow rich lister and former trader at Optiver who was also sued but refused to be part of the settlement.
''He places a high value on integrity, fairness and justice regardless of other considerations,'' the 36-year-old said.
Williamson, a 35-year-old Wollongong man who describes himself as a ''professional parent'' to four young children, said the case had put a ''seven-figure dent in my overall wealth and has been lingering for almost seven years''.
''To come away from it with nothing to show but a dubious reputation simply wasn't an acceptable outcome,'' he said.
''Quite simply, we didn't do anything wrong, and I think the evidence pretty clearly shows that. I can't speak for the company but I know a few of the guys took a purely pragmatic approach to the settlement, and that's their prerogative.''
He would not comment on the likelihood of Optiver taking action against him separately.
The agreement appears to put an end to the costly feud that has raged since June 2007, when Optiver started proceedings.
It believed it had found the smoking gun when it cracked an encrypted email from one of the men, former Optiver trader Tim Berry, to his current and former workmates including Bhandari, Williamson and trader Kinsey Cotton. It read in part: ''Ok Cats, we are 6 weeks out and under the pump'' and attached a timeline headed ''things to do''.
The timeline started on July 17, 2006, seven weeks before September 4 - the date that the Tibra companies were to start trading in Australia, Hong Kong and South Korea.
Under August 28, Berry had written: ''Erase all emails, sent items, deleted items, Skype chats, files etc from hard drive. Copy all existing files into new files. Fill up or blast hard drive. Destroy all paper correspondence.''
Berry, Bhandari, Williamson and Cotton invested in Tibra and made a splash on the rich list. Andrew King, a former IT programmer at Optiver who was also sued, enjoyed more modest spoils but his emails allegedly suggesting improvements to the speed of Optiver's F1 high-speed trading system were part of Optiver's case.
Among the other claims in the case was that Tibra Trading, set up by Bhandari in January 2006 as the first of the Tibra group of companies, was originally called FTD Trading - short for ''F--- the Dutch'', in a nod to Optiver's parent company. Tibra and the men denied the claim but there was no shortage of incredible company names in the case. Martin Nickolas and Nicholas Begg, former software and IT developers at Optiver who were also embroiled in the dispute, invested in Tibra using companies called Impropriety Unlimited and Begg Borrow and Steal. They would change the names to Genius Loci Holdings and Geen Pty Limited.
The men have not severed all ties with the company that made their fortune and mired them in controversy for the better part of a decade. Berry and Cotton remain directors of Tibra Capital.
Others, such as Williamson, have kept their shares in the company. But he said last week he was ''unsure what I'll do if I need or want to go back to work''.