Written by Alex Iskold and edited by Richard MacManus.

Russia-based Quintura Search Engine has received substantial backing from Mangrove Capital Partners of Luxembourg, an early-stage investor in Skype, ABRT Venture Fund and the partners of OpenView Venture Partners of Boston. This is an interesting deal for several reasons. The first is the Skype connection. Another one is that Quintura is the first Internet Russian company to receive investment from a Western VC. And then, of course, the product itself is very innovative.

Quintura is a visual search engine and it claims to apply the natural way that people think about concepts, to search. One of the most difficult problems that modern search engines are trying to solve is resolving ambiguity. Quintura solves it by presenting the user with a cloud of concepts relevant to the search. For example, when we searched for readwriteweb we got the cloud shown in the picture above. This type of cloud helps to refine results. And when a user clicks on a word, the search results below re-arrange accordingly.

The current version of Quintura supports just generic and image search, but it is likely that more will be coming soon. Users are also able to save and share the results that they find relevant. The results window could use some polishing, but the cloud navigation definitely compensates for any shortcomings. It is clear, as the company claims, that some very sophisticated neuron networks and clustering on the back end are powering this cloud.

Yakov Sadchikov, co-founder and CEO of Quintura, said in the press release:

"We plan [on] using the venture capital to take the Web by storm and reach millions of web users globally when launching the Quintura visual find engines for various user communities."

We think this is very ambitious, given that search is a tough and crowded space. But with a bit of polishing, this one may have a chance of breaking through. Could it be that Mangrove have found another big winner? Only time will tell. For now give Quintura a try and tell us what you think.