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Cuill, a search start-up of former Googlers, raises $25 million

A trio of ex-Googlers are working on next-generation search to outdo the industry giant. Join the club.

Cuill, a search upstart founded by ex-Googlers, said Tuesday that it raised $25 million in a second round funding led by Madrone Capital Partners. The company had previously raised $8 million from Tugboat Ventures and Greylock Partners.

Cuill, based in Menlo Park, Calif., was founded by Anna Patterson, former technical lead of Googlebase and an architect of Google's large search index TeraGoogle; Russell Power, who was also a technical lead on TeraGoogle; and Tom Costello, who developed an early prototype of IBM's WebFountain, an advanced search engine for mining business intelligence.

The company also employs search veteran Louis Monier, founding CTO of one of the Web's earliest search engines, AltaVista, and architect of eBay's search engine. Monier worked on search design at Google briefly before leaving for Cuill.

With that kind of brain power, Cuill founders say the company is developing a new kind of search. "Our team is using breakthroughs in search architecture and technological advances to create a new paradigm in search, and we now have the resources to reach the next level in pure search," CEO Tom Costello said in a statement.

The company did not say when it will launch, and previous requests for interviews have been turned down. But Cuill is certainly in a crowded new market of search start-ups. Rivals include Powerset, a natural language search engine; SearchMe, a graphical-based search engine; and Maholo, a human-edited search index.