Our Story

In the summer of 2016, American Family Insurance set out to understand how it could help policyholders of its subsidiary, The General®, make their lives easier - especially those living paycheck to paycheck.

After delving into customer research with world-class designers from IDEO, the discovery was simple: Americans needed an easy, reputable solution to earn extra money. Policyholders did not want to borrow, receive handouts, attend financial education seminars, nor upskill. Most had full-time jobs, but the income wasn’t always enough, or it was inconsistent. Sometimes $62 was the difference between breaking down and breaking even.

These policyholders are often middle-class Americans. These policyholders are us. Moonrise helps the 47% of Americans that cannot come up with an extra $400 in times of emergency by offering a reliable, flexible, on-demand solution to earn supplemental income when the need arises. We source, screen, and employ motivated Americans that want to work, and we match them with the right shift to earn some extra ka-ching. With the full backing of American Family Insurance, we're here to fulfill the dream of financial stability.

Here is the team that's making it happen

Kara Kaplan

Co-Founder & CEO

Kara is a seasoned startup executive with strong knowledge of marketplaces, financial services, venture capital, payments, and loyalty; plus, she has extensive sales and digital marketing experience. Prior to Moonrise, she co-founded the largest digital gift card marketplace representing 1000+ high-end merchants in 27 markets and established multiple strategic partnerships with companies including United Airlines. She's passionate about being an entrepreneur and loves building teams, exploring crazy ideas, and creating awesome customer experiences.

Favorite Thing:
My family

First Job:
Shoe salesperson at Mall

Heather Johnston

Co-Founder & COO

Heather loves building new ventures with a healthy dose of creativity, strategy, and operations. In her previous life, she co-founded a real estate startup, moved around the country while in a leadership program at Harley-Davidson Motor Company, and managed a team in American Family Insurance’s corporate innovation lab (where Moonrise was created utilizing design thinking). By training, Heather is a Mechanical Engineer and earned an M.B.A. from The Univ. of Chicago Booth School of Business. Heather is excited to help lead Moonrise as it becomes a national platform and helps millions reach or maintain financial stability.

Favorite Thing:
Family & friends, sunshine, guacamole

First Job:
Retail Associate (shirt folder)

Eric Harrison

Co-Founder & CTO

Eric is driven by a deep desire to automate away all of the worst things in life. Throughout his career, he’s used his skills as a software engineer to build products and companies to simplify every tedious task limiting human creativity. He’s spent decades honing these skills and has built products to manage military drone missions, train soldiers in Virtual Reality, and co-founded a startup to teach kids how to build and program Sumo Robots. He is the author of “An Introduction to Robot Programming”, a book to inspire and train the next generation of software developers.

Favorite Thing:
Reading, Rocket League, Robots, (w)Riting, Alliteration!

First Job:
Concessions at a movie theater

Karyn Schubert

Director of Product

Karyn spent her early career at the world’s largest medical records software company, Epic, leading healthcare software application installs and optimizations across the U.S. She developed a passion for user-focused experiences, research, and design thinking. Her desire to build platforms that delight customers led her to a project management role at a custom software development shop, a corporate innovation role at American Family Insurance, and eventually to Moonrise. Karyn is excited to bring a blend of intellectual curiosity, organization, and design research to the team.

Favorite Thing:
peanut butter, baseball games, and well-timed jokes

First Job:
Dishwasher at a bowling alley

Mike Wales

VP, Engineering

Prior to joining Moonrise, Mike led a team of 50 Engineer-Instructors at Udacity’s Bay Area HQ where they developed the company’s first Nanodegree program. These programs set the stage for a $1B valuation and helped train thousands of new developers worldwide. Mike has twenty years of experience and has been featured in industry podcasts, conferences, and panels. In joining Moonrise, Mike is building an innovative engineering team that is focused on supporting the on-demand work needs of our Moonrisers and employers.

Favorite Thing:
Camping & cooking outdoors

First Job:
Cook at Hardee's

Kris Khoury

Director of Experience

Kris has the unique skill set all startups need - a designer that can write Software. He has built websites for almost two decades and specializes in UI/UX. Prior to joining Moonrise, Kris was freelancing and spearheaded projects for Fox Films, Shure Inc., Duo Consulting, and others. Kris also led a remote team of developers and designers to build and deploy landing pages for educational institutions with Pearson Embanet. Kris is also really good at Chicago food and restaurant recommendations.

Favorite Thing:
Coffee gadgets, fancy burgers

First Job:
Collection agency associate

Cynthia Assam

Community & Business Development Manager

Cynthia is fiercely passionate about social advocacy and economic empowerment. She’s a proud Hawkeye and was a Presidential Scholar at the University of St. Thomas, where she received her Masters in Public Policy and Leadership. She’s held various positions at nonprofits and government organizations, such as Anoka County Public Defender’s Office and the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights. At Moonrise, Cynthia is excited to create a one-of-a-kind community experience for our one-of-a-kind Moonrisers.

Favorite Thing:
Life, Family, Beyoncé

First Job:
Cashier at CVS Pharmacy

Jeff Wagner

NodeJS Platform Engineer

Before joining Moonrise, Jeff worked as a consultant at ThoughtWorks. He played many different roles including Delivery Manager, QA, and most recently Software Developer. He likes keeping up with the latest discoveries in Physics and Astronomy, as well as more tangible pursuits like going to shows at iO and Second City.

Favorite Thing:
Swimming in the ocean

First Job:
Legal Assistant

Clint Ullrich

Director of Sales

A "jack of all trades", Clint started tending bar after college and has always had a side job or two or three. He has honed his craft and become a seasoned sales professional with 10+ years experience in beverage distribution, home improvement, and technology sales. He has a passion for the way the gig economy can transform people's lives for the better. He looks to help Moonrise #rulethehustle.

Favorite Thing:
Spending time with family and playing soccer

First Job:
Lawn mowing


Moonriser Liason

In her short lifespan, Gemma has focused on artificial intelligence and machine learning for the sole purpose of helping Moonrisers.

Favorite Thing:

First Job:
Learning how to text


Moonriser Mascot

Pokey welcomes all Moonrise office visitors with a tail wag or kiss. Although still a young pup, he excels in all aspects of puppy kindergarten obedience school and looks forward to more advanced doggie things.

Favorite Thing:
Dog parks, sunshine, chicken

First Job:
Moonriser mascot