A broker works at a Merchant Cash Advance Company and the company provides leads to the broker. The broker's job is to sort through those leads, identify the ones that are really interested, build relationships with them, and (try to) close the deal. Closing a deal can take a few months. The broker is paid hourly and also receives commission on any deals closed.
After some time the broker leaves the company to start a competing business. What is the halachic status of pending leads where the broker has begun to build those relationships but has not closed deals? Can the broker seek them as customers for the new company, or do the leads belong to the original company?
This might be different from taking a customer list where the departing employee was less involved in nurturing those relationships.