Chicago-based ExteNet Systems closed on $27.5 million in a new round of financing. The round is a combined package of equity and debt financing. The equity investors include former financial supporters in Centennial Ventures, CenterPoint Ventures, Columbia Capital and Sevin Rosen Funds, with additional equity infusion during this round from Palomar Ventures. The debt financing is provided by Comerica Bank.

According to Ross Manire, ExteNet Systems’ president and CEO, the financing package bears out two key proof points.  The new round of financing illustrates the confidence that the market has in the 6-year-old company and that distributed antenna systems (DAS) are ready for deployment.

“DAS’ time has come. It’s clearly established as a tool that carriers can use to help with their capacity concerns,” Manire said.

He pointed out that carriers today, especially with their growing data requirements, need more capacity and “DAS is a perfect solution for that,” he said.

The added round of financing will allow the company to grow to support its increasing business. It recently opened new office space in suburban Chicago’s tech corridor and built a state-of-the-art network operating center. Likewise, it will use the new funds to increase headcount.

One of the company’s first hires, which was announced yesterday, is Oliver Valente, who was named to the newly created post of executive vice president and COO. For the past 16 years, Valente served in technical and senior management positions with Sprint Nextel. He started his career there as a network engineer and concluded as senior vice president of product management and development. In that capacity, he led all of Sprint's product development, including Sprint Application Developers Program, enterprise program management, product strategy, as well as the company's innovation efforts.

Valente will join an executive team that already is strong in RF and wireless network experience with former executives from Allgon, Flextronics, NextG Networks and T-Mobile.

ABI Research recently released a report indicating that in-building wireless systems, including DAS, are poised to take off, and potentially could reach some 500,000 deployments by 2013.