About Us

In the summer of 2016, American Family Insurance wanted to understand how it could better help its customers fulfill their dreams - especially those tiptoeing the edge of the poverty line. After delving into customer-focused research and iterating on ideas, the discovery was simple: their customers needed a better way to make more money - not get a better job, not get a hand-out, not save more, but simply make more money.

Today, Moonrise is the answer to that need.

At Moonrise, we offer those customers (who we call Moonrisers) a reliable, flexible, on-demand way to earn extra income when they need it most. Although many of our Moonrisers have jobs they rely on, it's not always enough to cover the necessary expenses. We source, screen, and employ motivated Moonrisers that not only need, but want, to work.

With the full backing of American Family Insurance, we're here to fulfill the dream of financial stability to those most at risk of being destabilized in the first place. We're here to work for those that work the daily hustle.

Here's the team that's making it happen.

Our Team

Kara Kaplan

Co-Founder & CEO

Kara is a startup junkie who believes in turning ideas into reality. She loves building teams, crazy ideas, and creating awesome customer experiences. She's passionate about being an entrepreneur and thrives on interacting with intelligent and creative people daily...and lots of coffee!

Favorite Thing:
My family

First Job:
Shoe salesman 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 was in a leadership program at Harley-Davidson Motor Company, worked on the Innovation team at American Family Insurance, consulted independently, and co-founded a startup. By training, she 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 that helps millions of Americans reach or maintain financial stability.

Favorite Thing:
Family & friends, sunshine, guacamole

First Job:
Retail Associate (shirt folder)

Eric Harrison

Co-Founder & CTO

Eric has been building awesome software products for over 15 years and has a passion to automate everything.

Favorite Thing:
Books! I love books.

First Job:
Concessions at a Movie Theater

Maritza Vega


I’ve worked in Operations/HR Management for over 20 years in various markets. I love working with people!

Favorite Thing:
My favorite thing are TACOS!

First Job:
My first job was when I was in HR, taking pictures of checks that people requested for Bank One.

Mike Wales

VP, Engineering

Prior to joining Moonrise, Mike led a team of 50 Engineer-Instructors at Udacity where he developed the company's first Nanodegree program. These programs realigned the strategic vision for the company, set the stage for a $1 billion valuation, and trained tens of thousands of new developers all around the world. Mike's work as an engineering leader has been featured in industry podcasts, such as PHP Town Hall, and in talks at Google I/O. 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 always had a knack for building and designing things. He has been building web sites and apps since the early 2000s. He is considered a both sides of the brain personality that brings both design and technology to the table. Kris is also pretty strict about how to brew and consume coffee. Just ask. .

Favorite Thing:
Coffee gadgets & fancy burgers

First Job:
Collection agency associate / shill

Karyn Schubert

Director of Product

First Job:
Dishwasher at a bowling alley


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