Educational service start-up Crimson Consulting has run into its first public speed bump, with a dispute about $2250 sparking a liquidation bid.

An application to liquidate Crimson Consulting was publicly advertised today, ahead of an appearance in the High Court at Auckland on April 11, over a debt claimed by former employee Samantha Berry.

Crimson downplayed the matter and said only $2250 was claimed by Berry.

A spokeswoman for the company said it had offered to settle in full but this had been rejected: "Crimson has offered to pay the disputed amount on the plaintiff's behalf until the matter is resolved, but this offer has not been accepted. Crimson is not in any danger of being placed into liquidation."

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Berry founded undergraduate tutoring service UniTutors 2011, focused on Otago University.

In late 2015 Crimson acquired UniTutors, and a press release at the time said the business would expand nationally with Berry as chief executive and a vice-president at Crimson.

But, according to Companies Office filings, Berry resigned as director of UniTutor in April last year. Berry's lawyers K3 Legal said she was overseas and not immediately available for comment.

Crimson Consulting was founded by a teenaged Jamie Beaton, 21, and his girlfriend, Sharndre Kushor, in 2014. Its core business is tutoring for high school students with a view to winning scholarships at highly competitive Ivy League universities.

Beaton went on to study at Harvard University and work part-time as an analyst for billionaire Julian Robertson's New York-based Tiger Management.

Off the back of a series of capital-raisings, including soliciting funds from three billionaires, Crimson has engaged in a steady march of local acquisitions.

Following the raising of $41m from Tiger in September, the company was valued at $220m and Beaton's personal stake at $73m.

Crimson founders Jamie Beaton and Sharndre Kushor.
Crimson founders Jamie Beaton and Sharndre Kushor.

The company has enjoyed a high profile, in part due to its hiring of Max Key as a consultant, and Beaton has talked up its chances of breaking into the lucrative Chinese education market.