Starch is the main polymer in which carbon and energy are stored in land plants, algae and some cyanobacteria. It plays a crucial role in the physiology of these organisms and also represents an important polymer for humans, in terms of both diet and nonfood industry uses. Recent efforts have elucidated most of the steps involved in the synthesis of starch. However, the process that initiates the synthesis of the starch granule remains unclear. Here, we outline the similarities between the synthesis of starch and the synthesis of glycogen, the other widespread and abundant glucose-based polymer in living cells. We place special emphasis on the mechanisms of initiation of the glycogen granule and current knowledge concerning the initiation of the starch granule. We also discuss recent discoveries regarding the function of starch synthases in the priming of the starch granule and possible interactions with other elements of the starch synthesis machinery.