Model selection and hyperparameter optimization is crucial in applying machine learning to a novel dataset. Recently, a subcommunity of machine learning has focused on solving this problem with Sequential Model-based Bayesian Optimization (SMBO), demonstrating substantial successes in many applications. However, for computationally expensive algorithms the overhead of hyperparameter optimization can still be prohibitive. In this paper we mimic a strategy human domain experts use: speed up optimization by starting from promising configurations that performed well on similar datasets. The resulting initialization technique integrates naturally into the generic SMBO framework and can be trivially applied to any SMBO method. To validate our approach, we perform extensive experiments with two established SMBO frameworks (Spearmint and SMAC) with complementary strengths; optimizing two machine learning frameworks on 57 datasets. Our initialization procedure yields mild improvements for low-dimensional hyperparameter optimization and substantially improves the state of the art for the more complex combined algorithm selection and hyperparameter optimization problem.