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February 1, 2018

Yarmouth native launches Moonlite web app for fellow moonlighters

Photo / Renee Cordes
Photo / Renee Cordes
Caption Chase Oliver designed Moonlite as a one-stop-shop web app for independent contractors like himself to handle administrative tasks from contracts to billing.

A freelance product designer is moonlighting as a business owner, or maybe it's the other way around.

Chase Oliver, 31, who grew up in Yarmouth and moved back to Maine a few years ago from Boston, is the founder of a web-based application called Moonlite, which is based in Portland. www.moonliteapp.com

It offers freelancers a one-stop shop to sign contracts, track time and expenses, bill for their work and be set up for payments.

Oliver came up with the idea after working with a variety of tools himself, including DocuSign for contracts, Harvest for tracking and Gusto for payments, and discovering that none are designed for individuals. He created Moonlite to handle all those tasks in a straightforward, user-friendly way.

"I wanted to create something that wouldn't require a lot of time, that would just cover the bare necessities of a contract job, almost to the point where you don't even know you're using it," he says. He also spotted a business opportunity in the burgeoning '1099 economy' of independent contractors.

How Moonlite works

Moonlite works only if both parties use it, and is designed to ensure prompt payment into a bank account as soon as an assignment is completed and signed off on.

"If the project is set up with direct deposit, then as soon as the client says 'I approve, this looks good,' we'll kick off the direct deposit payment," Oliver says. Moonlite charges $15 per direct deposit, which by default gets billed to the contractor's client; payment is also possible via PayPal or other means.

For longer-term assignments, Moonlite encourages freelancers to set up work milestones with clients that they can bill for along the way.

Oliver's goal is to have 100 regular Moonlite users by the end of next year, when he hopes to be profitable, but does not envision becoming the next mega-Internet sensation like Google.

"If it comes we'll manage it happily," he says, "but it's not the goal."

Growing user base

Oliver says that Moonlite has a growing number of users.

They include Peter Lord, a web developer in Portland who helped Oliver with coding and used the app to bill Moonlite.

"It made the invoicing and payment easy, which is really nice," he says.

Grant Deken, CEO of Grapevine, a Cambridge, Mass.-based marketing platform that connects consumer brands with social media content creators, also uses Moonlite.

"As a business owner, being able to work with contractors through a simple system like Moonlite saves me a lot of time and gives me peace of mind," Deken says. "Moonlite deals with 90% of the admin hassle, which allows us to focus on getting mission critical work done for Grapevine. I think it's a great platform for both businesses and contractors."

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