NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Aubrey and Travis Barker didn't need china or sheets when they got married in March.
The couple, both married before, had something far more practical in mind when it came to wedding gifts.
The Missouri residents decided to create a crowdfunding account to raise money for a down payment on a home. In doing so, they joined a growing number of couples gathering cash for real estate purchases through online donations.
"He is 36, and I'm 25," says Aubrey Barker, a full-time student and stay-at-home mom. "We each have kids. We are pretty well established as far as wedding gifts are concerned. We don't need towels and dishes. But the one thing we really need is a little bit of a better place to live."
Long viewed as having the potential to transform the way new businesses are financed — by presenting a far friendlier alternative for start-up funding than traditional lenders — crowdfunding is now being used in even more creative ways.
Young couples wanting to get off on the right foot as they embark on married life are creating crowdfunding accounts to help defray the cost of everything from home down payments to home renovations, cooking classes and fertility treatments.
In fact, the crowdfunding market as a whole has been growing by leaps and bounds. In 2014 alone, the market grew a staggering 167%, says Massolution, a research firm specializing in the crowdsourcing and crowdfunding industries.
More than $16 billion was raised through crowdfunding platforms last year, says the company's 2015CF Crowdfunding Industry Report. In 2013 the amount raised was only $6.1 billion, and the forecast for this year is $34.4 billion.