GV, Triple Aim Bet Big on New IOP, PHP Provider Guidelight

GV, formerly Google Ventures, and Triple Aim have invested in a new behavioral health provider, Guidelight, focused on intermediate levels of care.

The newly launched startup offers intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) and partial hospitalization programs (PHPs). IOPs and PHPs provide a step up from traditional outpatient behavioral health offerings and a step down from inpatient care.

This type of treatment can give patients needing more intensive treatment flexible options. Guidelight offers programs during the day and at night to accommodate work and family schedules.


“Whenever you go inpatient, you’re kind of taken away from your life. In a way, you’re taken away from a lot of the stressors that brought you to the hospital,” Dr. Andy Cruz, chief medical officer at Guidelight, told Behavioral Health Business. “But [intermediate care] allows you to continue doing whatever you value, whatever it is that gives you purpose, whatever it is that gives you dignity, while you access behavioral mental health care.”

In addition to Cruz, a psychiatrist by training and former medical director of behavioral health tech company Headway, the leadership team includes Optum vets Tesha Simpson, Guidelight’s CEO, and Jordan Cox, the company’s chief growth and strategy officer.

How the program works

Patients coming to Guidelight begin with a psychiatric evaluation and personal assessment. Guidelight’s programs consist of individual therapy and group therapy, as well as medication management.


At Guidelight, both IOPs and PHPs consist of group therapy sessions for 9 hours a week, which breaks down to three hours a day for three days, according to the company’s website. PHPs are geared toward patients who need intensive treatment but don’t require 24-hour inpatient care. IOPs are a less acute level of care focused on flexibility and support.

While a hybrid option is available, Guidelight will offer most of the services in-person. The company has a nationwide expansion plan in the works, with the first clinic opening in Q1 of 2024.

“We’ve had so many conversations on the ground with patients, providers, payers, and we’re hearing from everybody that they want to be in-person,” Cruz said. “So we’re building brick-and-mortar facilities. There will be a flexible hybrid option; if, for example, a kiddo gets sick or if you get sick, you should be able to continue accessing care.”

The programs are open to adolescents and adults aged 12 and over. The provider will match patients into group therapy based on experience, age and other affinities.

“We know group therapy is an incredible intervention on its own, and it’s more powerful when you do it among your peers. There will be tracks for college-aged kiddos, older adults, and LGBTQIA+ persons,” Cruz said. “When I say we want to offer this to everyone who needs it, I mean it from an insurance perspective, to include all lines, including Medicare and Medicaid. I mean it from an age perspective. … It’s really powerful to be among your peers.”

Investing in IOPs and PHPs

The company’s recent funding, which, according to SEC documents, is worth roughly $16.35 million, will help the organization build its team and new locations.

“The backing is significant, such that I do not spend any of my days worried about funding,” Cruz said. “I get to spend my days worrying about building the best clinical curriculum out there and putting together a mission-driven and excited team. … We also have access to [the investor] teams, who help us really think through the complexities of starting a mental health care business.”

GV and Triple Aim are no strangers to behavioral health investment. Both organizations invested in firsthand, a peer support startup focused on getting people with serious mental illness (SMI) into care.

GV’s other behavioral health investments include Headway, Brightline and Quartet Health. GV’s Dr. Ben Robbins, a trained psychiatrist and a general partner at the investment firm, had hinted about the company’s interest in intermediate levels of behavioral health care before Guidelight launched. 

“PHPs and IOPs are largely group-based. We’ve seen a couple of venture-backed companies doing virtual groups, and the sense of connectedness, the rate of engagement, the sustained engagement, it’s really high, especially among teens,” Robbins said at BHB’s INVEST event. “It makes sense. It’s an area I always think of as having a particularly high stigma around mental health care. But I think it’s a pretty effective way to get around that stigma.”

Venture investors aren’t the only ones looking at IOPs and PHPs for future growth. Driven by payer interest, many traditional private equity-backed behavioral health providers have also begun to expand their services to include these levels of care.

“If someone can be treated in an IOP setting versus an inpatient setting, on a per diem basis, it’s a fraction of the cost,” Terry Hyman, managing partner of Northwood Healthcare Partners, previously told BHB. “And if you can avoid that inpatient stay or a single ED visit, it is a highly economical alternative.”

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