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

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agency with multiple brick-and-mortar locations, says Jay Loewi. He has more than two decades of experience in human resources, and is currently CEO of The QTI Group, a Madison-based staffing firm.

“On any day, we’ve got between seven and 10 people who walk in” to QTI’s main office in hopes of finding work, Loewi says. “It’s a spur-of-the-moment thing where they see the building” and decide to step inside, he adds. That sort of experience can’t really be replicated online, Loewi says.

Moonrise says on its website that the only time a worker is required to come to its office is for an orientation session. Still, it’s not as if the startup discourages people from showing up at its office, which Moonrise says is accessible by public transit and has free parking nearby.

Loewi, whose firm QTI places people in work environments that vary from factory floors to the executive suite, says there can be advantages to interviewing people in-person. For example, a job might require someone to be able to lift at least 50 pounds continually for eight hours, and QTI has come up with ways to screen for that.

Moonrise might be able to get a leg up on Shiftgig and other head-on competitors because Moonrise has access to recruiters, marketing professionals, software developers, and other resources at American Family.

Loewi, who is not involved with Moonrise, says one route the startup might follow after completing its pilot is contacting American Family policyholders—or customers of The General, an auto insurance-focused company American Family acquired in 2013—to see if they’re interested in using Moonrise to find work.

“They already have relationships and a built-in list of potential temporaries,” Loewi says. “That should give them an advantage to be able to contact people and see if they can get them out working.”

American Family does not plan to reach out to its existing policyholders to gauge their interest in signing up for Moonrise, according to a spokesperson for the insurer. [This paragraph has been updated with comments from American Family Insurance.]

Loewi says QTI has not developed technology internally to connect the two sides of the on-demand labor market, but he’s not ruling out the possibility it will do so in the future.

“I still think it’s helpful to have someone in the middle that really understands the corporate culture, and also understands the risks associated when something [unexpected] happens,” he says. “But we do need to go with more of a technology-based approach for helping with the matching process. I don’t think we have any choice.”

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