Young Startup Receives Big Honor

NC State alumni Tyler Confrey-Maloney and Steve Gray received the prestigious Voices in Solidarity award for Undercover Colors this week in New York City. This award is the highest honor given to men who have devoted their lives and careers to ending violence against women. Confrey-Maloney and Gray were among just four recipients of the 2016 prize, whose past winners include Vice President Joe Biden and actor Patrick Stewart.

As a part of their acceptance speech, Confrey-Maloney and Gray, 2014 graduates of the College of Engineering, remarked on how they used their skills as engineers to solve the devastating problem of sexual assault.

“Everyone has it within their power to do something,” Confrey-Maloney said. “As engineers, our change agent is technology.”

Undercover Colors is developing wearable nail technology that identifies the presence of common date rape drugs in a variety of beverages through color change. The men founded the startup while students in NC State’s Engineering Entrepreneurs Program and continue to call NC State their home with an office on Centennial Campus.

“It is my deepest hope that Undercover Colors will not only be empowering those who wear it, but for anyone who sees somebody else being mistreated, undervalued, hurt or discriminated against and knows it’s time for a change,” stated Confrey-Maloney.

The Voices of Solidarity awards are given by the Vital Voices Society. Comedian and activist Seth Meyers presented the award.