Moonrise, New Service for Gig Workers, Shares Chicago Pilot Results

[Updated 7/27/18 9:44 a.m. See below.] American Family Insurance on Wednesday made public new details on Moonrise, a startup spun out by the insurer that has developed technology allowing people looking to make extra money to sign up for shifts at businesses near where they live.

This year, Moonrise has been conducting a pilot of the service in the Chicago area, according to Madison, WI-based American Family. (Moonrise is a wholly owned subsidiary of the insurer, but is headquartered in the Windy City.)

So far, about 200 people have used Moonrise to pick up more than 1,000 shifts as part of the pilot, the insurer says. These workers have collectively been paid more than $70,000 for work they first heard about—and agreed to perform—through Moonrise’s technology, American Family says.

The companies that have participated in the pilot include Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN) and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, according to American Family.

Xconomy was the first news outlet to report, in December, that the insurer planned to launch Moonrise. The pilot kicked off the following month, American Family says.

Moonrise and competing on-demand worker-finding technologies like BlueCrew, Shiftgig, and Wonolo are part of the broader “gig” economy trend. Companies such as Uber and Lyft provide workers with the opportunity to make money, plus the flexibility to set their own hours. Employers who work with Moonrise have the latitude to hire people on a shift-by-shift basis.

Moonrise in some ways resembles Tinder and other “yay-or-nay” dating apps, but for workers who want to earn extra cash. An employer sends a text message to the worker with information about a shift—including its date, time, location, and hourly pay—and the worker chooses to accept or decline the shift. Moonrise says workers are required to have a phone that can receive text messages.

Moonrise is currently only available in Illinois, but the startup reportedly plans to introduce the service in more states later this year. Moonrise currently has 15 employees, American Family says.

According to its website, Moonrise currently places people into four positions: drivers, movers, car detailers, and customer service representatives.

Moonrisers, as the startup calls those who use the service, can work a maximum of 29 hours per week. (That total doesn’t include hours worked outside of Moonrise-assigned shifts.) The hourly wage for Moonrise shifts is between $10 and $15 an hour, and shifts vary in length from four to eight hours, the company says. The minimum wage in Illinois is currently $8.25 an hour.

Moonrise issues debit cards to workers, and says it credits the cards with wages on the same day they work a shift or shifts.

Once someone completes a shift, he or she is able to rate and review the employer, and vice versa, Moonrise says.

On one hand, Moonrise has many things in common with a traditional temporary staffing agency. Businesses tell Moonrise what types of positions they need to fill, and how much they pay. Additionally, it’s Moonrise—not the employer—that handles most of the paperwork, and pays workers. Moonrise charges a markup on the hourly wages of temporary workers that employers hire using the service. The startup also gets a finder’s fee if one of its client organizations goes on to hire a Moonriser full-time.

However, there are some notable differences between Moonrise and a temp staffing … Next Page »

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Jeff Buchanan is the editor of Xconomy Wisconsin. Email: jbuchanan@xconomy.com Follow @_jeffbuchanan

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