There is a time and place for backstory and the beginning of your novel is not it. Beginning with backstory is a good way to get automatically rejected by many agents and editors. However, backstory is not the same as a prologue. Backstory is talking about something that has already happened where a prologue is something that is happening~even if it's in the past. The difference is action. Most agents and editors want the story to start right away. Readers want a sense that something is happening, there is something at stake, and there is a way to save what is at stake.
The inciting incident should be as close to the beginning of your novel as you can get it. This doesn't mean it has to be in the first chapter so long as what comes first is pertinent to the story and is exciting, suspenseful, or interesting enough to start the novel with. Not sure what the inciting incident is? It is the event which occurs and sets the entire novel in motion. Example: In Harry Potter it was the arrival of the letter from Hogwarts.
Backstory should come in later, after the reader is invested in the character and is hooked enough to keep turning pages. Only then will they tolerate or enjoy the lull of backstory. At conferences, workshops, and on blogs I've heard many agents advise that you should wait as long as you can to put backstory in your novel. Most say they don’t mind seeing it after five pages, even more say they prefer it after ten pages into the novel. I've found that waiting that long is a lot harder than it sounds. The key is to hook the reader quick and get them wanting to know more. As soon as you accomplish that, bring on the backstory!
For advice on backstory and more from editor Anica Rissi check out 9 Must-Follow Manuscript Rules.